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Football – a game of what ifs

Every football fan on the planet has a list of excuses of what could change to allow their team to excel. “If we didn’t concede from corners we would be top of the league,” or “if we stopped giving away penalties we would not be in the bottom three.”

In reality though, it is very interesting to see hypothetically just where in the table a team would be if they didn’t concede goals from one specific avenue, or how the side would be getting on without a certain player’s influence.

However, instead of voicing your opinion without any real evidence or statistics to back it up, a new website called League Of Your Own has been created to churn the numbers for you.

Ever wanted to see where Liverpool would be on the table without Luis Suarez? Or which team would have the most improvement if they stopped conceding from free-kicks?

All this and much more can be calculated at League Of Your Own, with the new and improved Premier League table at your fingertips as an aid for you to make your point.

From having a quick play on the user-friendly website I have come up with a few interesting factoids that will be relevant to Premier League followers.

  • Stoke – a team renowned for their aerial ability, would be four places higher in the table than they currently are if you take out all Premier League goals scored from corners this season.
  • If every Premier League game finished at half-time this season, Liverpool would be top of the table. Cardiff would be bottom.
  • If you take out all the goals scored from the penalty spot, Newcastle would be level on points with Manchester City.
  • Without Romelu Lukaku, Everton would be ninth, not fifth.
  • If Arsenal had not signed Mesut Ozil, taking out his goals and assists, they would still be top of the Premier League table. Take out Aaron Ramsey’s goals and assists and they would be second.
  • If you take out goals scored in first or second half injury time, Manchester United would be fifth, not eighth.

Football is certainly a game of what ifs, but the League Of Your Own website now gives us the tools to bring our theories to life.

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Sport’s weirdest ‘curses’

It’s fair to say that athletes are a suspicious lot – after all, they’re famous for using lucky charms, strange rituals and plenty of other peculiar tricks to get an advantage when it comes to the playing field.

However, one of the stranger aspects of sports relates to the idea of ‘curses’. And it’s not as if these are simply quite rare occurrences – there are literally hundreds and hundreds of stories about teams and players who believe they’ve experienced this sort of bad luck.

Here are two of the ones we’ve found most interesting.

The curse of the Honey Bears

While it sounds a little like a lost chapter from Winnie the Pooh, this curse has had a seemingly huge affect on the Chicago Bears, an NFL team in America.

In 1977, the team created a cheerleading squad called the Honey Bears, which became popular parts of each game’s half-time show. When the owner of the team – George Halas – died, he left the team to his daughter Virginia McCaskey. Virginia always thought the Honey Bears portrayed women negatively, so she decided that after their final contracted year, the Honey Bears would be disbanded.

During their last year of having the Honey Bees, the Chicago Bears did extremely well – losing only one game, and winning the 1985 Super Bowl. However, in the years after the Honey Bees were disbanded, the Chicago Bears haven’t won a single game – causing some to believe that they’re cursed.

The Madden and Sports Illustrated curses

Most players generally enjoy a bit of fame, since it is great recognition for all the work they’ve put into getting where they are today. However, sometimes that recognition seems to set off a chain of events which can have nasty consequences.

Although appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated was seen as a huge achievement, plenty of players who did so suddenly found themselves experiencing injuries and missing games.

The same became true for the Madden computer game series – every time it featured a player on the box, that player suffered an injury the following season.

Want to check if you’re free of curses? Perhaps you should play The Health Lottery to find out!

Infographic

Getting A CompTIA Certification Can Help You Land A Promising Job In The IT Field

If you desire to obtain a career in the IT field, you need to be certified, in order to be desirable in the eyes of employers. There are a lot of different types of IT certifications that you can choose to obtain. Due to the influx of certifications that are available, choosing the right types of certifications that will adhere to your needs can be difficult.

CompTIA, which is an acronym for the Computer Technology Industry Association can help out in offering entry level and expert level examinations in the IT field. The certifications that can be earned through CompTIA are held in high regards.

One of the most basic certifications that CompTIA offers is the A+ certification. Individuals that obtain this certification will prove that they understand the basics of the IT industry. This certification will test an individual’s skills in many different sectors of the IT world. The examination covers basic internal workings of a computer, hardware, basic networking, and basic understanding of computer systems.

Most IT companies will require that their workers at least have this type of certification before they can be employed to perform assigned tasks for them. Once you have obtained this certification, you can easily advance your career by taking additional CompTIA certifications that are offered.

A few advanced certifications offered by CompTIA are the Security + certification, Network + certification, Linux, and CCNA certifications. Each certification will take you a step closer to a more promising career that is extremely lucrative at the same time.

Chelsea’s Torres, Manchester United’s Rooney, Barcelona’s Messi and the biggest football contracts of all time

The Biggest Football Contracts of All Time

With the most recent investments into the game the price of players contracts are once again starting to soar. Take a look below to find out more on the current top ten earners in world football and their seasons rates. (Warning: you may be surprised by some of the names on the list.)

10. Cristiano Ronaldo (€10 million)

The Portuguese forward earns a hefty sum at Real Madrid, but he only just cracks our top ten list. Ronaldo came to prominence in the Sporting Lisbon youth team, where an exceptional performance in a friendly against Manchester United earned him a transfer to the English club. After a rocky beginning in England, Ronaldo developed his game and led the side to three English Premier League titles, two League Cups, one UEFA Champions League trophy and the Club World Championship. Success has followed him to Real Madrid, where he won La Liga last season.

9. Lionel Messi (€10.5 million)

Lionel Messi

He is widely considered the best player in the world, yet Messi is only ninth on this list. He is Barcelona’s most dangerous player, often being their sole threat on goal. Messi broke the record for most goals scored in a calendar year in 2012. He has already won three UEFA Champions League crowns, along with winning the Ballon d’Or on four occasions.

8. Dario Conca, Guangzhou Evergrande (€10.6 million)

Conca is an Argentine international who plies his trade in China’s major league. This contract is a massive surprise, given the fact that Conca is not among the world’s elite players.

7. Fernando Torres, Chelsea (€10.8 million)

Along with paying £50 million to Liverpool, Chelsea gave Fernando Torres a bumper contract. Unfortunately, he has rarely showed the quality to justify such a financial expense. He has struggled to recapture his Liverpool form and is likely to be sold this summer.

6. Didier Drogba, Shanghai Shenhua (€12 million)

Didier Drogba

Ironically, Drogba is the man Torres was signed to replace at Chelsea. The Ivorian moved to China where he was on a handsome contract for half a season. Unfortunately, financial problems meant the cancellation of the deal allowing Drogba to move to Turkish giants Galatasaray, with employment lawyers now likely to get involved.

5. Sergio Aguero, Manchester City (€12.5 million)

Despite failure in the UEFA Champions League for two consecutive seasons, Aguero led City to last season’s Premier League title. More will be expected in future seasons from the Argentine star.

4. Yaya Toure, Manchester City (€13 million)

From Barcelona’s reserves to Manchester City’s first team, Yaya Toure made a massive jump when he left Spain. Not only did he earn a starting spot, but he got one of the best football contracts in history. His performances have lived up to the billing as he is often City’s best player.

3. Wayne Rooney, Manchester United (€13.8 million)

Wayne Rooney

A summer after the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez, United faced the possibility of Rooney leaving too. Instead, he was coaxed into staying by the manager and was rewarded with the third highest football contract. He has won four Premier League titles and the UEFA Champions League at Old Trafford.

2. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, PSG (€14.5 million)

Ibra continued his nomadic club journey to PSG this summer, signing a massive contract with the French giants. He will be the spearhead of their bid to dominate European football.

1. Samuel Eto’o, Anzhi Makhachkala (€20 million)

Why would a footballer leave Inter Milan (European champions at the time) for Russian football? The answer is €20 million euros a season and the largest contract ever given to a football player.

Author Bio
Jamie Stevenson is an avid copywriter who writes for a variety of websites, including specialist employment solicitors Slater & Gordon.

Could solicitors replace football agents?

Football is big business. There are now extraordinary amounts of money that are being used to entice the best footballers in the world to different clubs. Within these transactions the person who is currently doing very well, with seemingly the least amount of work, is the football agent. As a result there are now mixed feelings towards football agents, with some people including ex-Manchester United defender Gary Neville stating that they should be removed from the game.

What is it that football agents actually do to deserve the amount of money that they get as a percentage from these deals? Surely as there are contracts and legal issues involved it would be wise for these transactions to be looked after by certified legal professionals? For example, rather than the huge percentage recently received for each of the Manchester City and United player transfers, there are a number of solicitors who would have been able to handle them at a fraction of the cost.

It is argued that football agents offer players insights into clubs and deals, and will be looking out for their clients’ best interests. They will also know a huge number of people in different clubs and may be able to open doors that would have been closed otherwise. In other words they are connectors, networkers and they know who to speak to, to get the deal done. They are also going to bend over backwards to ensure that anything that the player asks for can be delivered. In some ways they could be seen as player’s personal assistants and will do more unpaid hours in the hope of seeing that big deal coming through.

On the plus side football agents are licensed so there are some rules and you can’t just become one overnight, but there are a growing number of legal professionals who are getting involved in the contractual discussions. The positives to solicitors becoming involved are that they will work by the hour rather than taking 10% off the final deal tag, and as they are legally qualified they can take you through all the ins and outs of any deal that is being put together. There is also the code of confidentiality that appeals to players as everything is between them and the solicitor, so there is no chance of any leaks to tabloids. However it is a very competitive line of work to get into and players will want to find out who the solicitor knows and if can they get in touch with the right people at the right time to see a deal completed. In some respects this is more important than the hourly rate – especially if you are on £200,000 a week.

There are pros and cons to both sides of the argument. The agent’s knowledge and connections make him/her a very useful piece in helping a player get their foot in the door, but there is the big payday afterwards. Solicitors are professional and will listen to what their client wants without being distracted by what they will get out of it, but in some cases may be found looking in on the football industry rather than being in the middle of it.

No matter what the beautiful game will continue to grow, however being in the right place at the right time with the right support will be the key to many deals being done.

By Jamie Stevenson

Jamie Stevenson is a freelance copywriter who writes for a variety of websites, including a number of family solicitors in Manchester. 

 

Rangers and Portsmouth the latest in a long list of financially distressed clubs

Over 50 members of the Football League in England have entered administration in the last 25 years, and the situation shows no sign of improving. Port Vale and Portsmouth have entered administration during the 2011/12 season, both for the second time. On April 3 2012, Begbies Traynor, administrators to Port Vale, suggested that 13 of the 68 League clubs they had studied were in ‘financial distress’.

Portsmouth entered administration when members of the Premier League in 2010, but this is the only instance to date of a case of administration in England’s top flight. Rangers, one of Scotland’s biggest clubs, also hit the headlines when they entered administration in the 2011/12 season. These isolated cases have generated much publicity, but the problem is much greater in the Football League and in the Football Conference.

It may seem that football has such a high profile that there will always be a business person somewhere brave enough to rescue an ailing club. However there should be little cause for complacency, as recent years have seen the demise of Gretna from the Scottish Premier League, as well as Chester City, Halifax Town, Rushden & Diamonds and Scarborough in England.

Clubs entering administration face an automatic 10 point deduction. The following circumstances may all lead a football club into financial difficulty and then into administration:

Overspending: Paying excessive transfer fees and/or player wages that cannot be sustained is all too common. Unfortunately all football clubs are very ambitious, want to be successful and want to achieve promotion.

Relegation: Dropping down a division means revenue is reduced from gate receipts, television rights, sponsorship and more. If clubs cannot or do not reduce costs, such as player wages, problems will undoubtedly follow.

Debt: Taking on additional debt without a clear plan as to how it may be repaid

Not owning your own ground: Clubs without significant assets may find it especially difficult to secure lending which might see them through difficult times

A major benefactor withdraws support: Gretna and Rushden are mentioned above as clubs that have disappeared from the football map. In both cases the club had been bankrolled to a league position well in excess of what they had been used to. Once their sugar daddies ceased to fund the club, financial difficulties quickly followed.

The ITV Digital saga: In 2000, TV broadcaster ITV Digital purchased the rights to show Football League matches for £315 million, well in excess of any sum these rights had previously been sold for. ITV Digital fell on hard times and the last £180 million of this was never paid, when clubs had budgeted for this income.

In summary, much of the problem centres around clubs becoming too ambitious. In a quest for success on the field they forget about applying sensible economic principles and instead spend money they do not have. Clubs must learn to live within their means, this may result in relegation and unhappy supporters, but this is surely preferable to a financial crisis.

By Martin Saxon

Joint-ownership of football players; the future or a financial cloak?

Long gone are the days of simply buying and selling players; due to the extortionate amounts of money that football players are worth modern day contracts are intricate, with many different beneficiaries in every deal.

However the latest craze to find its way into European football is joint or part ownership of players. Outlawed in France and England, teams on the continent are starting to share footballers’ rights as a way to profit financially and reduce the risk of buying the latest superstar.

The idea of joint ownership originates from South America, with the majority of Brazilian and Argentine players’ rights split between at least two different sources.

This has spread to Italy, with two or more clubs sharing a specific player’s ownership. It may well make sense for the involved parties, but joint ownership is blurring the boundaries, especially given FIFA’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations, which are set to be enforced in 2013/2014.

Part Ownership between club and external company

Many South American players in particular are owned by their club, who in turn sell a share of the player’s rights to an investor. The investor takes a leap in faith in the player’s ability, whilst the club get a lump sum of revenue upon the sale of the rights.

So, if for argument’s sake Santos sold 25% of Neymar’s rights to Company X for $5 million today, and in the summer the striker moved to Real Madrid for $30 million, Company X would be owed $7.5 million of the transfer fee. However, if Neymar opted to stay with the Brazilian club for the remainder of his career, Company X would not be in line for any remuneration.

The advantage for the owning club is there for all to see, as there is immediate investment and the sharing of the risk of a player’s future.

One of the most notable transfers of this nature is Carlos Tevez’s move to West Ham from Corinthians, and subsequent transfer to Manchester United a year later. The temperamental forward is owned partly by Media Sports Investments (MSI), and former company owner Kia Joorabchian is now an ‘adviser’ to Tevez.

All of Tevez’s three transfers to and around England have involved complications due to MSI wrangling with the respective clubs, and West Ham were embroiled in a court battle with the investment fund.

The major downside of this type of arrangement is that non-football involved bodies and people are having a say in the game, and impacting young players’ futures. The player himself becomes secondary to the commercial gains of the owning organisations, with the athlete being traded for profit rather than any emotive reasons tied up within the game.

Part Ownership between club and club

As mentioned previously, this practice is banned in England and France, but is employed in the rest of Europe. Italy in particular has adopted this technique as a key way of negotiating transfers, with a number of players’ fates being intertwined and their ownership diluted.

A key example of two club’s sharing a player’s ownership is between AC Milan and fellow Serie A side Genoa. The two teams have shared rights of over 15 players in the last number of years, with the case of Alexander Merkel in particular relevant.

The German midfielder moved to the San Siro giants but after failing to break into the first team Milan sold 50% of his player rights to Genoa and sent him to the Stadio Luigi Ferraris. However after good performances in Liguria, the Scudetto holders recalled him back to Milan.

By adopting dual ownership, a club, in this case Milan, have a safety net to protect their interests regarding a player. When Merkel was deemed surplus to requirements half his rights were offloaded but Massimiliano Allegri’s men kept the other half in case the midfielder impressed elsewhere, and exacted the option to sign him back if, and when, this happened.

The Future

With the FFP regulations close to being adopted, a clear reading of joint ownership needs to be determined. Clubs hiding behind investors to minimize their assets and therefore benefit under the new compliance should not be tolerated by FIFA, and the financial side of joint ownership needs to be clarified.

Similarly, the increase in non-football based investors in players’ rights is only adding to the influx of corporate and commercial influence in the game, with the players and fans’ interests second priority to revenue.

Published – Soccerlens

The Loan Debate: Is it good for the parent club?

With Fifa Financial Fair Play coming into effect and extortionate transfer fees blighting some clubs’ efforts to reinforce, the tried-and-tested loan system is an option can make or break a team’s season. One only has to look at the track record of young players evolving into top-class athletes whilst on loan deals, or a club being boosted by a temporary signing. It’s seemingly good for the player and parent club, as first-team football leads to development, and the smaller team gets the benefit of having a player they most likely couldn’t buy outright.

However, the loan system is not perfect, seems only to work when there is a match between the player and both his clubs and has a number of negative countering factors.

Pros

There is no doubt that loaning a player can make his career, as he returns to the parent club revitalised and improved after a run of regular football. The list of players to have undergone this process is startling, with three recent cases catching the eye:

  • Jack Wilshere – A promising youngster when he left the Emirates Stadium to join Bolton in 2009-10, he returned to the north London club ready to play an important role for club and country. Would he be the player he is now without the six-month spell of regular Premier League football at the Reebok Stadium?
  • Kyle Walker – Bought by Tottenham back in 2009, the young full back was not immediately considered by Harry Redknapp, and spent short spells at QPR and Aston Villa before becoming an ever-present at White Hart Lane this season.
  • Daniel Sturridge – Signed by Chelsea from Manchester City, youthful Sturridge could not get a game under Carlo Ancelotti and was loaned, again to Bolton. Eight goals in twelve games showed that the attacker was ready for regular Premier League inclusion, and he is now a key player at Stamford Bridge.

The list continues; Danny Welbeck and Jonny Evans at Manchester United, Jermian Defoe at West Ham, Aaron Ramsey at Arsenal, Joe Hart at Manchester City – plenty of young players have cut their teeth elsewhere and gone on to become international players.

In fact, looking at the England squad for the international fixture against Sweden in November 2011, 16 of the 25-man squad have been subject to loan deals. This spans back years and decades, with David Beckham’s successful stint at Preston North End in 1995 proving this is no recent phenomenon. The case of Emmanuel Adebayor at Tottenham shows that bringing in an experienced head on loan also works. Robbie Keane has looked sharper than ever since joining Aston Villa and inspired Celtic fans by scoring 12 goals in 16 games back in 2010.

The player’s wages are generally taken on fully or partly by the loaning club, so everyone’s happy. Right?

Cons

Despite the advantages of the loan system, sometimes for one reason or another it just doesn’t work. There are also a number of negative factors that must be considered when sending/taking a player on a temporary basis.

Arsene Wenger has strong opinions on the loan system, and despite taking advantage of it in the cases of Ramsey and Wilshere, he has seen the other side of the coin with a number of other players. Brazilian youngster Pedro Botelho was bought by The Gunners in 2007, but since has been loaned out to five different Spanish teams with little or no benefit to Arsenal. Samuel Galindo is a Bolivian defender signed by Arsenal, but was not granted a work permit. He is in his second loan spell in Spain, and struggles to get any regular football, the same is the case with Wellington Silva, who is now at Alcoyano.

It’s not all roses for the club getting the player on loan either.

  • Overdependence – An overdependence on temporary players is seemingly occurring in the lower leagues, as a team can bring in up to five loan players at any one time, almost half a team. Add to that the fact that the parent club can generally recall the player at any point, and it makes for a shaky alliance.
  • Is he ‘our player’? – The fans at times struggle to feel any real loyalty or bond with players who will be leaving in six months, and depart the club after showing any semblance of form or ability. The loanee’s motivations will always be questioned also, as he naturally will be more interested in putting himself in the shop window and progressing with the parent club than aiding his temporary team’s plight.
  • Youth systems – A loan deal may well benefit the parent club’s youth system, but what of the lesser of the two clubs? Wilshere’s loan to Bolton or Walker’s to Aston Villa, although successful for the duo, is stopping another home-grown young prospect from progressing at the Reebok Stadium or Villa Park.
  • Knock on effect – With the sheer number of players on loan, it is only natural that a team’s season can be decided by the actions of a temporary player. This also applies not only to the team the player goes from or to, but others in the division.

Arsene Wenger’s main gripe with the loan system is typified by the example of Adebayor, who helped Spurs challenge for the Champions League spots, but wasn’t available to potentially derail Manchester City’s title charge.

Published – Soccerlens

Footballers overcoming adversity to play the beautiful game

Despite the common trait of footballers being poor role models and lacking integrity, some players and their backgrounds can inspire you. The majority of footballers have an enviable life and everything they could ever imagine on a silver platter, but these combatants have had to overcome adversity to play the beautiful game.

Ivan Klasnic – kidney transplant

Ivan Klasnic is the first and still the only player to compete in a major competition after recovering from an organ transplant, going against medical advice to play at Euro 2008 for Croatia. The Bolton attacker was diagnosed with kidney failure in January 2007, which threatened the striker’s life – never mind his football career. However he has come back stronger than ever, and shown incredible will to win to return to action.

Garrincha – birth defects

Widely regarded as one of the best wingers ever to play the game, Garrincha was a World Cup winner in 1958 and 1962, playing in the same Brazil team as Pele. The South American’s achievements are made all the more impressive given the fact that his spine was deformed, his right leg bent inwards and his left leg six centimetres shorter and curved outwards from birth.

Salvador Cabanas – gun shot

Salvador Cabanas was regarded as one of South America’s most clinical goalscorers of the 2000′s, but the forward’s life was turned upside down on 25th January 2010, as he was shot in the head in a Mexico City nightclub by notorious drug lord Jose Balderas Garza. Defying medical opinion Cabanas has returned to living a normal life, and even stepped out to feature in an exhibition game between the Paraguay national team and old club America in 2011.

Bert Trautmann – broken neck

A German World War II veteran, Trautmann signed for Manchester City in 1949, and suffered a serious neck injury in the 1956 FA Cup final. After a challenge with a Birmingham attacker, the goalkeeper suffered a broken neck, but still played the remainder of the game to see City win the trophy 3-1, making all-important saves along the way.

Julio Gonzalez – car crash

Whilst playing for Vicenza in Italy back in December 2005, Julio Gonzalez was involved in a high impact car crash when travelling to Venice airport. After being hospitalised for a month in Europe, doctors were forced to amputate the Paraguay international’s left arm. Despite losing the ability to play at the highest level, Gonzalez has remains an important member of the football community in his country, and in 2008 opened an Inter Milan football academy in the South American nation.

Lionel Messi / Mario Balotelli – childhood illness

The current Ballon d’Or holder was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency whilst a child, and moved to Barcelona’s La Masia youth set up before becoming the best player in the current game. Balotelli had life-threatening complications with his intestines shortly after birth, which led to a series of operations and him being fostered at the age of three.

Christian Chivu / Petr Cech – skull fracture

Both eastern European footballers have suffered a skull fracture during their career, Chivu in 2009, Cech in 2006. The Chelsea goalkeeper’s condition became the more serious of the two, with Cech wearing protective headwear whilst competing ever since.

Munch 1958 Air Disaster

Twenty-three of the 43 passengers on board the Elizabethan charter aircraft G-ALZU ‘Lord Burghley’ lost their lives in the Munich Air Disaster on Thursday 6th February 1958. Nine other footballers and the manager, Matt Busby, were injured in the crash and while many of them could not play again or reach the heights before the crash, the achievements of Sir Matt Busby in rebuilding Manchester United as a force in England and Europe are the stuff of legend. Not to mention Bobby Charlton’s star-studded career for United after surviving the crash at the age of 20.

Robert Schlienz – amputated arm

Whilst driving to a game in 1948, Robert Schlienz let his arm hang out of his car window, only to be involved in a crash. His vehicle overturned and his arm was damaged beyond repair, forcing amputation. Despite the setback, he went on to become captain of Stuttgart, winning two national championships, and played three games for Germany – all with one arm.

Published – Soccerlens

The 12 most annoying football clichés

We all love talking about football, with the latest matches, transfers and events dominating the train of thought and sparking debate on a daily basis. From the highest echelon of football commentators, journalists and even the players and managers themselves, down to the man in the pub, anything can be explained and justified with a well-rehearsed and used-to-death cliché. Here are the football clichés that annoy us the most (in no particular order):

1. Football is a funny old game

Generally used to explain the unexplainable, if something happens that was unexpected it was because ‘football’s a funny old game’. No-one usually laughs despite the game being ‘funny’ but this ends any argument and can justify just about anything in football.

2. He gave 110% / he worked his socks off

Generally reserved for a hard working striker or midfield player, and almost always deployed as the said-player is being substituted. Even if you score an own goal hat-trick, if you run about lots you can save some face by ‘working your socks off’.

3. A great advert for the game

This can be either a wholesome player (are there any left?) or an exciting match. Steven Gerrard is a great advert for the game, or Manchester City’s 3-2 win over Tottenham was a great advert for the Premier League. Even though Balotelli should have been sent off.

4. This game needs a goal

Utilised mostly by commentators or onlooking neutral fans, this phrase is coined to state the speaker’s desire that more entertainment is offered by the players. If a goal is scored it breaks the deadlock and the other team have to come out of their shell and attack. Let’s be honest though; the game doesn’t need a goal, you just want to see one.

5. He’s hit it too well

If you connect with a cross ‘too well’ it means you have struck the ball cleanly. Used invariably after a chance is missed or more commonly saved by a goalkeeper, the thinking is if the attacking player scuffs or doesn’t connect with the ball as well, it would take a different direction and maybe go in. Funny, you don’t usually hear ‘he’s not hit it well enough’.

6. Too good to go down

West Ham are too good to go down.” No they’re not. This one is reserved for under-performing teams who are threatened with relegation, but “on paper” (another cliché!) look to have too much quality (and another!) in their ranks to be demoted to the league below.

7. There are no easy games at this level

‘This level’ can be any level really, whether it’s the World Cup or the Albanian Superliga; all coaches will state this tried-and-tested cliché before a game that they expect to win, and probably expect to be pretty easy. Similar to ‘keeping our feet on the ground.’

8. Take it one game at a time

This one is a manager’s favourite; typically used by a side who are doing better than expected or progressing well in a cup competition. No thinking about the Champions League game against Real Madrid in two weeks please, lets take it one game at a time and beat Wigan in the league first.

9. It’s a game of two halves

In a literal sense I guess this one can be used as a pretty obvious fact, but the phrase is mostly spurted if one team is getting beaten at half time and have aspirations of getting back in the game. Still pretty stupid though.

10. Bad time to concede

Ask any football fan if there is a good time to concede a goal and they will stare at you blankly. This cringe-worthy phrase is uttered if a team loses a goal straight after they themselves have scored, or just before half time. If we are being honest though, anytime in the entire 90 minutes is not a great time to concede.

11. Every game is a cup final now

There’s something special about a cup final that gets the club – from the playing squad and manager to the reserves, the coaches and the tea lady – pulling together in the same direction and brings everyone together in a good mood.

But when you try to apply the same line of thinking to your last 15 league games (and we have managers spouting this line as early as January in the league), it’s the worst form of siege mentality – instead of experiencing the joy of playing in a final, the players are left with the insane pressure and fear of defeat in each game. That sort of pressure can get you relegated, and it sure doesn’t help when your team is already under a lot of pressure.

12. For a big lad, he’s good with his feet

You’re a footballer, you’re supposed to be playing the game with your feet. And it’s worse when that player in question is below average with both his feet and his head. Here’s looking (up) at you, Peter Crouch.

Published – Soccerlens

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