Why the Exploits of Cardiff City will be one to remember

For any football team or player, the pinnacle of one’s career in the English game surely must be reaching the top flight?

For Cardiff City, after a few years of being around the playoffs and a series of new misses, this was finally made a reality after a 0-0 draw with Charlton.

What is all the more significant, however, is that this will be Cardiff’s first ever time in the Premier League, and as a Welsh club they will be only the second team behind Swansea to do this.

The story of Cardiff is somewhat heart-warming. A new owner has brought in increased finances after years of difficulty as well as an extremely debatable decision to change the traditional kit from blue to red.

In recent years, Cardiff have become a big side in the Championship and came close to an FA Cup win in 2008; losing to Portsmouth in the final.   

A changed stadium from Ninian Park to the Cardiff City Stadium further increased the incentive from Cardiff to go up one more step.

A League Cup penalty defeat to Liverpool brought more heartache for the fans but a new light for the following season saw Cardiff-boy Craig Bellamy signed on a permanent basis, perhaps giving Cardiff the boost they needed.

Having led the table since November, promotion has finally been confirmed and the famous South Wales derby will be contested in England’s top division where a tenth of the team’s are Welsh.


Photo Retrieved From: http://www.thehardtackle.com/2013/cardiff-city-cruising-to-the-premier-league/

Portsmouth FC Granted Fan Ownership

April 10th on a Wednesday afternoon will no doubt prove to be one of many historic days in the heritage of Portsmouth Football Club.

The day when a Judge granted the Portsmouth Supporter’s Trust the ownership of their club.

They will now join teams such as Exeter City and AFC Wimbledon, where they will be owned by the fans. Portsmouth will become the largest fan-owned club in England.

Agreements from administrators and opposition Portpin were made to allow the club to keep control of Fratton Park.

An historic and emotional day for Portsmouth fans has finally seen a brighter side after administrations, point’s deductions, job losses and much deliberation as to whether the fans would have a club.

For those that have suffered for several years, this is for them and for football. Portsmouth Football Club and their fans finally have won.

April 10th on a Wednesday afternoon will no doubt prove to be one of many historic days in the heritage of Portsmouth Football Club.

The day when a Judge granted the Portsmouth Supporter’s Trust the ownership of their club.

They will now join teams such as Exeter City and AFC Wimbledon, where they will be owned by the fans. Portsmouth will become the largest fan-owned club in England.

Agreements from administrators and opposition Portpin were made to allow the club to keep control of Fratton Park.

An historic and emotional day for Portsmouth fans has finally seen a brighter side after administrations, point’s deductions, job losses and much deliberation as to whether the fans would have a club.

For those that have suffered for several years, this is for them and for football. Portsmouth Football Club and their fans finally have won.

England Draw 1-1 with Montenegro in a Game of Two Halves

It does seem a commonly used cliche but this really was a game of two halves.

England were going into this game high on confidence after they outplayed and outclassed a poor opposition in San Marino.

Montenegro were always going to be a tough prospect for Roy Hodgson’s men to face.

Captain Steven Gerrard and Ashley Cole were one of several changes made for this World Cup Qualifying match.

The first half seemed nothing to worry about. Wayne Rooney was proving once again influential and hit the post early on.

And minutes later Rooney put England 1-0 up with a header from a Gerrard cross.

And it stayed like that until half time. Much of the first saw England play some intelligent football. Danny Welbeck in particular proved key.

Montenegro made changes at half time and attempted to become more attacking.

As England began to fold, Montenegro did the opposite.

The inevitable happened and the equaliser eventually came.

At 1-1, with 15 minutes to go both teams tried to get the winner but this came to avail.

It was no surprise that the game ended a stalemate. A game of two halves saw the gap between England and Montenegro stay at 2 points with Montenegro still on top.

It is definitely unclear who will eventually qualify. Poland and Ukraine should also not be forgotten.

England’s campaign will continue in September. Whether they will reach the World Cup is another question.

Reading Appoint Nigel Adkins as Manager

Reading, this morning confirmed the appointment of former Southampton manager Nigel Adkins.

Up until earlier this season, Adkins had been at the helm with the Saints, having guided them to two successive promotions to the Premier League.

Results however, were considered not good enough and he was sacked.

Reading on the other hand, had also just been promoted the when manager Brian McDermott was sacked with little over 10 games to go.

The replacement from McDermott to Adkins is certainly a shrewd and somewhat risky one.

After all, at the start of the season, both teams were in the same situation and looked to be in it for the long haul trying to keep both teams up.

Nevertheless, it will certainly be intriguing to see whether both teams stay up. This will also confirm whether both clubs made the right decisions.

England Thrash San Marino

Friday saw England take on the minnows San Marino in what proved to be more of a training regime that a World Cup Qualifier.

For San Marino were, as expected, poor, and England came out 8-0 winners.

The opening goal in England’s record-breaking goal scoring exploits came from a San Marino player, who comically turned the ball into his own net. The beginning of the inevitable destruction had begun.

Goal highlights include Wayne Rooney’s beautifully placed free kick and Ashley Young’s smashing drive from distance.

For a team ranked 207th in the world, San Marino never looked like creating anything. It was indeed a lesson in football and England got the job done.

This performance was never going the put Roy Hodgson and his men to the sword but England were ruthless.

Previously, a controversial squad exit from Rio Ferdinand had blighted the England camp but this did not take any hold over the game.

As a football nation, San Marino is non-existent. Their manager is a PE Teacher at a school and all of the players have a day job alongside their international pedigree. Their stadium is tiny and England came to do a job and they luckily did.

Tuesday sees England take on Montenegro in what is sure to be more of a spectacle for any fan, although there are sure to be far fewer goals.

Hot Off the Press – Michael Owen to Retire from all Football

Today, footballer Michael Owen broke the news that he is to retire from all football at the end of the season. At the age of 33, it perhaps is understandable. Owen is not getting any better, and a lack of performances for his current club Stoke City has seen just 1 goal from 7.

On the other hand, as I write this, I have to genuinely say that I am gutted about his announcement today. For me, Michael Owen will always be my first ever football hero. He seemed such a fantastic person, and from the age of 18 was set to hit the big time.

Having read his autobiography, Owen constantly talks of his family in the highest regard, notably his father. In his statement given today, Owen refers to his family as the most important factor in his life.

I will never forget the happiness I felt after he scored a hat trick for England against Germany in a 5-1 win; my first ever poster on my wall.

I had quite a soft spot for his first club, Liverpool and Owen was an integral part of that team, scoring 158 goals in 297 appearances. For England, Owen hit 40 in 89 which put him high on the all time goal scoring charts.

In 2004, Owen left Liverpool to join Real Madrid; one year before Liverpool won the European Cup; an accolade Owen unfortunately didn’t win in his illustrious career. That day in 2004, aged 10, I felt somewhat empty as I do today as it is then end of an era.

Subsequent moves to Newcastle, Manchester United and now Stoke followed as injuries blighted Owen’s career.

Who knows what would have happened had Owen stayed at Anfield. I would like to hope more trophies as well as more record breaking goals for England. Nevertheless, winning European Footballer of the Year as well as many other accolades puts Owen as an all time great.

One will always have the memories of a humble and friendly, family man, who put smiles on so many faces. My boyhood hero: Michael Owen.

Rafa Benitez Confirms Chelsea Exit

Since replacing Roberto Di Matteo in November, Rafael Benitez has not enjoyed his time at Chelsea.

The Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich set Rafa up for a fall, but nevertheless the performances throughout his time have simply not been good enough.

As a manager in general though, Benitez has somewhat proved himself. In 26 years he has won the 9 major club trophies on offer in Football and has a pedigree in the Champions League, winning the trophy with Chelsea’s bitter rivals, Liverpool, in 2005.

Abramovich’s agenda is particularly shocking. Throughout his tenure, he has rid of frequent managers. On this appointment, Benitez was set as ‘Interim Manager’ until the end of the season.

As an experienced professional, Benitez has a right to take dislike to his job title and finally has expressed this as a “mistake.”

Perhaps due to his recent managerial tenures combined with the frustrations of the sacking of Di Matteo, the Chelsea faithful have been defiant in expressing their dislike towards Benitez. This has been expressed since November with banners being paraded and chanting of hatred.

It can surely come as no surprise that Benitez has had enough. Speaking to Radio 5 Live, he demanded more respect than what he currently receives. He expressed his dissatisfaction at the title of his appointment. And he confirmed he will leave Chelsea at the end of the season.

Chelsea currently lie far adrift in the Premier League. As a major club in the game, this is simply unacceptable. They are currently competing in Europe’s minor Cup competition, the Europa League after winning the Champions League under Di Matteo last season.

Rafa’s outburst has come off the back of a Fa Cup victory where Chelsea will go on to face Manchester United in the Quarter-Final of the FA Cup; a Cup Chelsea also currently holds.

As an avid fan of football, though this may not come as a surprise regarding Chelsea, it is a shame that Benitez’s relatively illustrious career is being tarnished under the Roman Abramovich regime. Whether or not Benitez ‘won the dressing room’ or even the fans, he was trying to do an almost impossible job from the start and he has finally crumbled.

Benitez’s outburst can be heard here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/21611064