Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Football - Wolverhampton Wanderers v Everton Barclays Premier League

Although the ongoing Steven Pienaar contract farce continues to haunt our close season, the news that a number of key players are willing to commit their futures to the club should be more than enough to keep Everton fans feeling positive.

This week Jack Rodwell will sign a new five-year deal to ward off interest from Manchester United and Arsenal. I’m sure Toffees can’t hide their delight at this news as Rodwell is undoubtedly a star in the making. His progress in the past two years has been astounding and his calmness and composure on the ball belies his tender years. His strike against Manchester United gave us a glimpse of the sort of player he could become and it now looks like the fans will see Rodwell fulfil his potential in a blue shirt, rather than the red of United or Arsenal.

Read the rest of this entry.

Blackpool to live the Premier League dream

The future’s bright, the future’s orange, or, to be precise about it, Tangerine. Blackpool’s promotion at the weekend was a headline writer’s dream come true, with “Blackpool rocks” and “tangerine dream” two of the more heavily used phrases in the wake of their play-off win.

The odds make them favourites to go straight back down and, given that many people were tipping them to be relegated from the Championship at the start of this season, this should come as no surprise. In fact, manager Ian Holloway had a clause in his contract giving him a bonus if he kept them up – promotion wasn’t even mentioned.

Read the rest of this entry.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Soccerpro Review

Once again the lovely people at Soccerpro sent me some gear to review for you lucky people. First off I had a pair of Adidas Samba World Cup Edition trainers.

Now I admit from the off, I am a fan of Adidas trainers, so my review is always going to be tainted with favouritism but I will do my best to be impartial.
First off the Samba design, once of one Adidas’ earliest football shoe designs, is now a classic casual footwear design in its own right. And this latest incarnation is no exception. The modern twist is, of course, the colouring of the iconic three stripes which, in tribute to the upcoming World Cup, is yellow and gold for the countries of Brazil, Australia and Ghana.

Not that I will be supporting any of those countries mind, but I think they look good anyway!

The colours are, of course, personal taste but as the Samba shoe can be bought in a variety of colours you can disregard them for the rest of the review.

It is a good job these are for leisurewear as its comfort and design upon wearing is not suitable for sport at all. They fail to offer the ankle support for physical activity and quickly picked up scuff marks. My previous Sambas have also done this, becoming worn and marked very quickly.

However, if you’re watching the match rather than playing in it or you fancy a few drinks with your mates and you want to look good as well as feel comfortable, you can’t go wrong. They look smart but are also extremely comfortable to wear, as you would expect with a brand such as Adidas. They come highly recommended.

Adidas Samba Leather World Cup Countries - Brazil, Ghana, and Australia UK size 8/US size 9 $47.99 to buy go to Soccerpro’s Soccer Shop

Next up was a black and white Adidas Condivo Fleece Top.
Being a black and white fleece it was never going to receive any design awards and I certainly didn't see it as a fashion statement. Therefore I placed functionality above looks with this piece of Soccer Apparel.

Given my limited footballing ability (much to my eternal regret) this came in hugely handy when sitting on the bench for my football team (well, we don’t really have a bench of sorts, so I just sat on the grass!). The fleece is well made, with subtle white piping giving a classier design than those with just the traditional three stripes down the sleeves. Functionality wise it did the job, keeping my extremely warm for much of the game, before my five minute cameo at the end.

How does it compare with other, cheaper fleeces? It’s hard to say. It certainly looks and feels better than cheaper designs but whether it keeps me warmer is open to debate. At $60.00 I do feel you are paying a premium for the name, but it also guarantees you excellent design, warmth and comfort. And if that prevents you from freezing your ass off on the touchline, then it is a fair price to pay.

Adidas Condivo Fleece Top - Black with White: $60.00

To buy these products and more soccer gear please go to

Monday, 24 May 2010

Jack Rodwell signs new Everton deal

It's the news we have all been waiting for!

Hot on the heels of Seamus Coleman and Tim Cahill, it is being reported that Jack Rodwell has become the latest player to commit his future to the club by signing a long-term deal.

The Guardian reports that the England Under-21 international has signed a fiver year contract worth £30,000 a week, ending any speculation of a move to Manchester United or Arsenal.

I'm sure all Blues fans will agree this is great news. Rodwell has been long admired by the clubs coaching staff and from what we have seen over the past two years he has the potential to become an Everton great - I only hope he sticks around long enough to do so!

Read the rest of this entry.

Daily Mail misinterprets public opinion in World Cup row.

Ah, the traditional British tabloid kiss-and-tell story.

Every other week sordid revelations of a celebrity’s ( and I use that term loosely) private life is splashed over the front pages of a Sunday newspaper. All in the name of the free press.

I can’t say I am a fan of these stories, but a lot of people clearly are and I do agree to an extent that those in positions of power duly have a responsibility to behave in a proper manner. Investigative journalism can help uncover crime and corruption, as well as those who publically display and profit from one image, yet offer a different one away from public view.

But all too often in my opinion the ‘public interest’ argument is trotted out by newspapers to defend their invasion of privacy in order to sell extra copies.

Take the Lord Triesman fiasco. The Daily Mail, a conservative newspaper, was always going to go after someone like Triesman, a labour peer. But their decision to run a story featuring comments made by him during a private dinner (though they called it a meeting) with a friend and former aide Melissa Jacobs, who, unknown to him, was recording it, appears a mistake.

Jacobs sold her story to the Mail for £75,000, with the publicist Max Clifford representing her. Alarm bells about her motives should be ringing already. One of Triesman’s stand-out remarks was allegations that the Spanish and Russian football associations were considering bribing referees at this summer's World Cup, in return for votes in the 2018 bidding process. Pretty serious accusations I admit.

The story inevitably led to the 66-year-old's departure, but defending himself in a statement he felt he was a victim of “Entrapment” by a friend which was an “unpleasant experience both for my family and me.”

The article also implied that Triesman had shared an “intimate relationship” with Jacobs. He vigorously denied the allegations, saying that their friendship had been “grossly exaggerated”.

Meanwhile the FA franticly began a damage limitation exercise, swiftly apologising to the Spanish and Russian FAs as well as swiftly removing the labour peer from his position.

Now I am not going to defend Triesman’s comments. They were ill-advised to say the least. Such comments are very foolish, especially for someone in his position, and so he s not entirely blameless in this sorry tale.

But is shouldn’t be forgotten that these comments were made in private to a close and trusted friend, and he had no idea it was being recorded. The Mail’s line in the story was that Triesman’s was now responsible for England’s faltering bid for the World Cup, accusing him of a ‘serious lapse of judgement’ for making such claims regardless of whether they were in private or not.

The Press Complaints Commission code of practice (which are voluntary by the way) states that the press must not seek to obtain or publish material acquired by using hidden cameras or clandestine listening devices;. But while it needs to be pointed out that the paper was not involved in the recording of the conversation, they ran the story when it was offered to them. The defence on this is whether the story is in the public interest which is defined by but not restricted to: Detecting or exposing crime or serious impropriety, protecting public health and safety or preventing the public from being misled by an action or statement of an individual or organisation.

You have to ask yourself then – is this in the public interest?

It’s very hard to prove that it its. After all any journalist worth his salt would have listened to his startling claims regarding corruption and looked into it further – that is the big story to come out of all this. If, as expected, the claims are baseless, then they are simply the mutterings, however irresponsible, of a man, in private, to a woman he was looking to impress.

Was he taking the allegations further? Probably not? Where they the views of the FA, certainly not.

It’s a non story. I defy anyone to deny they have made exaggerated or ill-advised claims in a private setting. In that context Triesman's comments are hardly a matter of public interest.

So why therefore did the paper run the story? Well, everyone loves a kiss-and-tell story don’t they? Everyone loves to see the downfall of those in power and hear their sordid revelations over their Sunday lunch. And that is how the story played out, with even transcriptions of affectionate text messages sent by Triesman to Jacobs printed.

This was a cheap an smutty attempt to sell extra copies, disguised under the ruse of ‘pubic interest’. But in doing so the Mail has scored untold damage on England’s World Cup bid (the revelations did after all come just days after England submitted their bid book to FIFA)

This surely outweighs any benefit revealing a 66-year-old love sick man's inner private thoughts would bring?

Judging by the nature and sheer number of vitriolic comments on the papers website they have grossly mis-judged the public mood, with the majority of the English public angry at the paper, not Triesman, and hold them responsible for hurting England’s chances of hosting the World Cup.

It does seem ironic that for such a patriotic publication their cheap quest for sales could cost England the World Cup, and so billion of pounds of investment and thousands of jobs. Not to mention the feel good factor of having the World’s greatest tournament on our shores. Is the story still in the public interest now?

Gary Lineker, one of the ambassadors of the 2018 bid, has quit his position as a columnist in the wake of the scandal; with his publicist Jon Holmes saying it was “crass judgment” on the part of the Mail. I’m inclined to agree.

Again I feel it is important to point out that the press should be independent and therefore shouldn’t cover things up in order to protect England’s bid. If the bid committee are seeking to win the World Cup by illegal means the press have a right to bring them to account - They still have a vital role in uncovering corruption and ensuring fair play.

But conversely they shouldn’t obtain stories using dubious methods and then proceed make sensationalist mountains out of molehills in order to create headlines and sell papers, with dis-regard for the consequences of their actions. The FA have enough faults as it is without their own press working against them.

England’s bid team believe they can recover from this PR disaster and prove to the FIFA committee that England is deserving of the World Cup in 2018. But with the British press the way they are, I’m not holding my breath.

Friday, 21 May 2010

The Web's Newest Everton FC blog - Royal Blue Mersey!

Yes that's right the guys over at SBNation have asked my to be editor of a bran new Everton FC blog:

Hope you like the name (it was my idea!)

PMP will still continue as a hub for all more blogs across the web but if your're looking for exclusive Everton content then RBM will be the place to be. Why not check it out an have your say. One of my first blog posts is a review of last season, check it out by clicking here.


More should follow Tim Cahill’s example

Sports News - April 15, 2010

Another year. Another transfer window. Another scattergun approach from the media.

Desperate to break the story first the press have obviously decided to throw enough transfer tittle tattle onto their back pages with the hope that one will stick, so when the player does make the move they can look all smug.

But even though I know most of these stories are fabricated, it doesn’t stop me from feeling anxious when most of them involve Everton players leaving rather than coming in.

The reason for this is because I, like most Blues, are still sore from the Joleon Lescott saga last summer. It was brilliantly orchestrated by Man City, who by consistently making public their interest in the defender, unsettled the former Wolves man (and much of the squad) to the extent that his mind had drifted across the M62 by the time the season had started. Aston Villa fans watch out, the same will happen with James Milner, trust me.

So when I read that Mikel Arteta is apparently off to Arsenal, Phil Jagielka is off to Man City and Jack Rodwell is off to United, you can’t blame me for feeling a little worried.

Loyalty carries little weight in these days of the £100,000 a week footballer. When we see players passionately kissing the badge and clapping the fans we like to think they are one of us. But the reality is very different and as we found with Lescott last year, those with the greater finances (sorry City I mean ‘ambition’) will nearly always win out.

I say nearly always because, thankfully, Tim Cahill has proved a very happy exception to that depressing rule.

The talismanic Aussie has become part of the furniture at Goodison now given the length of time he has been here. The very fact some fans became frustrated with him this season and even pondered flogging him to raise cash is evidence of the high standards he has set himself since his move from Millwall in 2004.

Even if he was not at his best at times this year, his presence on and off the field and his handy knack of arriving late in the area to grab crucial goals means he is still a vital asset to our squad, and the sort of player clubs pay top dollar for - what Man United could do with a goalscoring midfielder of his prowess to replace the aging Paul Scholes?

I reckon few would blame him if he sought one last big move, he has given six years loyal service after all and perhaps deserves to pick up more than just two FA Cup runners up medals in his career.

But Cahill strikes me as a man of principal. He is eternally grateful for what rewards the game has brought, the opportunity Millwall offered him as a young trainee miles away from home and the faith Eveton placed in him when they plucked him from obscurity.

He has since become a genuine World star and appears determined to reward that faith shown in him by the management, players and fans by committing the rest of his career to the club (and hopefully winning some trophies!)

His quotes upon signing the new deal are ones to cut out and keep:

“When you assess the situation, see where you are as a footballer, people question money and things like that, but there’s only so much more you can earn. The grass isn’t always greener.

“I don’t chase big moves. That’s the one thing I’ve done all my career, I’ve never invited clubs, I’ve never speculated.

“Everton know the way I work. It’s a sign of respect. With the history we’ve got, the future we’ve got, I feel there’s no bigger club.”

We should make a T-shirt with that on.

It is encouraging to know we have players who carry genuine affection for the club in the dressing room as they can only have a positive influence on the rest of the players. One of the most pleasing aspects of David Moyes’ transfer policy is his insistence on buying players with the right attitude as well as ability. I hope now that Cahill can be an example to players still at the club, as well as prospective transfer targets, that while we can’t offer the wages, we can offer the best environment for a player to develop in.

Yes I’m talking to you Mr Pienaar.

First published over at Everton Banter

Is debt scuppering Fergie’s transfer plans?

The announcement by Sir Alex Ferguson that he may only sign one more player this summer must have been met by bemusement by Manchester United fans.

After all, despite losing the Premier League title by just a point, a series of poor results during the campaign revealed a squad that relied too much on Wayne Rooney and the aging legs of Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville and Paul Scholes.

The United manager has already signed Mexican forward Javier Hernandez from Guadalajara and defender Chris Smalling from Fulham, but they are hardly the big buys acquisitions many United supporters were expecting.

Read the rest of this entry.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Drogba the man for the big occasion

With goals in two FA Cup finals and two semifinals it should have come as no surprise when Didier Drogba netted yet another vital strike at Wembley this past weekend.

The Ivorian’s superb second half free-kick, just minutes after battling Portsmouth had missed a penalty, proved the difference between the two sides, allowing Chelsea to lift their sixth FA Cup and complete a first ever league and cup double.

The former Marseille man is a controversial figure in the Premier League. Never one to shy away from the limelight, his early years at Stamford Bridge were full of allegations of diving, while his frequent passionate outbursts, most infamously after Chelsea’s Champions League semifinal defeat to Barcelona last year, have landed him in hot water with the authorities and made him unpopular with opposition supporters.

Read the rest of this entry.

Barcelona bag another La Liga

So it appears that money can't buy you everything as high-rollers Real Madrid, who spent more than £200 million last summer, lick their wounds after being beaten into second place once more by their great rivals Barcelona.

The Catalan club, astutely managed by Pep Guardiola, clinched a second successive La Liga title on Sunday with a 4-0 win over Real Valladolid, ending the campaign on a hefty 99 points with 96 goals scored. Their great rivals meanwhile could only draw 1-1 with Malaga, meaning the title went to the Nou Camp for the 20th time in the club's illustrious history.

Read the rest of this entry.

Drogba ruins Pompey’s last hurrah

The irony must not be lost on Avram Grant that missed penalties once again proved crucial in his fortunes in a major cup final.

The Portsmouth manager was in charge of Chelsea two years ago when John Terry’s slip and penalty miss in the Moscow rain cost the Londoners the Champions League.

Now, with Chelsea the opposition, he had a new nightmare from 18 yards as Kevin Prince Boeteng’s sloppy spot-kick was easily saved by Petr Cech, becoming only the third ever keeper to save a penalty in a FA Cup final after Dave Beasant in 1988 and Mark Crossley in 1991.

Read the rest of this entry.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Billy's wonder goal shows his true talents

It won't be a game that will go down in history, but a dour, drab pedestrian end-of-season match against Pompey will at least be remembered for a glorious last minute strike from Diniyar Bilyaletdinov.

The Russian winger has divided opinion among Evertonians this season. Many see him as the 21st century version of Kevin Sheedy, while others think he is another one of David Moyes big money flops, along with the likes of Per Kroldup and James Beattie.

I'm sitting on the fence here, I know, but I think he is somewhere in between. For starters I always think it is fair to give foreign players a season to settle in. A move to a new country and new culture brings challenges both on and off the pitch and you often see better performances from players once they have settled in.

Bilyaletdinov arrived late in the transfer window from Russia, a vastly different division to the Premier League. He has also played a whole year without a break as the league in Russia is out of kilter with Western European football.

Read the rest of this entry.

Why Tottenham need to reign in expectations

It has been quite a season for Spurs. Their eventful ride into the top four means they have the chance to play European Cup football for the first time since 1961.

Harry Redknapp has been talking about bringing in that “one special player” to brave Europe’s elite competition in a Spurs shirt, while the supporters are dreaming of a new glorious era and building a realistic title challenge.

Now far be it from me to rain on their parade and dampen expectations, but the fans need to keep their ambitions in check as plenty of banana skins lay ahead. The online odds suggest they will struggle to mount a title challenge again next season, and securing fourth could be just as tough as it was this time around.

Read the rest of this entry.

Chelsea hit 8 (eight) while United turn into Norwich

You know you’ve had a hiding when the videprinter has to display the number of goals you conceded in brackets, just to stick the knife that little bit further – “Yes Wigan that was eight goals you conceded against a rampant Chelsea on Sunday.”

Given the Latics had already conceded nine in one game this season, and Chelsea had hit seven on three occasions at Stamford Bridge, it should have come as no surprise when the Londoners ran riot to secure the Premier League title.

Add to that the fact Wigan’s best defender, Titus Bramble, was missing, they conceded after two minutes, and they had a man sent off midway through the first half and you had all the ingredients for a nightmare.

It was no wonder the Man United fans up at Old Trafford quickly gave up hope of a shock title win and began shouting about the Glazers instead.

Read the rest of this entry.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Blatter looks to everywhere but England

Another day, another comment from Sepp Blatter praising a county other than England’s bid to host the 2018 World Cup.

What we have done to deserve such hostility from the suits at FIFA I don’t know, but it seems England’s hopes of hosting the World Cup rests not in their ability to host the tournament, but the bid committee’s skills of political persuasion.

Take Blatter for example. He has recently returned from Russia and has been quoted as saying: "...what they presented is remarkable. Russia is not a country but a continent and Russia has big plans to expand.

“Listen, it (England's bid) is the easiest bid in the world. They have the football already organised. They have everything. England has no problem in delivering a World Cup.

"The other bidders must convince the executive. England does not have to convince us.
"We know England can stage the World Cup. But England winning (the right to stage it) – I am not so sure."

So basically what he is saying is the decision will not be based on practical (and surely the most important) reasons, which is England’s strongest card.
Legacy has become a buzzword ever since Seb Coe’s successful London Olympic bid talked of a future for the capital beyond the games.

Blatter appears on a one man crusade to do something similar with the World Cup, handing out tournaments to developing football nations like sweets to children - he has already been quoted as saying it is the Arab World’s turn to host the tournament.

This is all well and good I agree, football is a global game now and it is only fair that a variety of countries and continents get the chance to host major competitions.
But you have to ask whether these countries are ready to host World Cup’s and European Championships?

A huge amount of infrastructure is required, not just Stadiums but transport links and hotels. Huge questions still remain over South Africa’s ability to host the tournament smoothly while the Ukraine, co-host of the next European Championship, have had to make promises to UEFA that they will have the stadiums built in time. England don’t need such timescales, they could host it tomorrow if they had to.

Yet that strength, the stadiums and infrastructure, has been dismissed as irrelevant, as though it is somehow their fault they built their stadiums 20 years ago. You can’t help feeling England are being made to fight on unfair ground.

Instead they have to play the political game to turn the executives heads, something we don’t appear very good at after the handbag fiasco, which saw vice-president Jack Warner return the gift for his wife to the FA complete with angry letter, saying it was: “a symbol of derision, betrayal and embarrassment for me and my family."

England face a huge challenge on the pitch this summer as they seek to replicate that 1966 World Cup win, but the task of playing another World Cup on home soil, appears much, much harder.

Originally posted at

What’s going on at Liverpool?

The glee of almost certainly preventing bitter rivals Manchester United from claiming a record nineteenth league title was far outweighed by the multitude of problems Liverpool’s defeat to Chelsea highlighted on Sunday.

Although I doubt the players deliberately set out to gift Chelsea the win – all talk of letting the Londoners triumph was confined to the stands – the players did a pretty good job of disproving that theory as they cantered through an alarmingly desperate 90 minutes in front of an increasingly dispirited Anfield crowd. Yes, the football odds suggested Chelsea should win, but Liverpool barely even turned up.

Read the rest of this entry.

Steve McClaren - back from the brink

He was subject to a torrent of abuse and ridicule when he led England to dismal failure in their Euro 2008 qualifying campaign, but 30 months later, Steve McClaren has bounced back in style.

Soon after that now infamous, wet November night against Croatia, where he was dubbed, the "Wally with the Brolly", McClaren made the unusual, but ultimately wise move to take a job aboard.

It is unusual because most English players and coaches choose to stay at home. And it was wise because it gave him the time and space to rebuild his shattered career which had hit an all time low.

Read the rest of this entry.

Tottenham Players Set For Major Role In England Squad

Spurs have had one of the best season they have had for a long time this year and, with only a couple of games left, Spurs have a real chance of breaking into the top 4 and playing Champions League football next season. Spurs are currently in pole position for 4th spot but face a crucial match against Manchester City tonight with a victory securing 4th spot.

The Spurs players have played out of their skin this season and a number of these players will play a key role at the 2010 World Cup for England. There are a number of players who, as long as they are fit, are certainties to be in the England squad with a number of players also on the sidelines and in with a chance of making the World Cup squad.

Strikers Jermaine Defoe and Peter Crouch will almost certainly be in the England squad and will play a key role up front alongside Wayne Rooney in the England attack. Aaron Lennon has unfortunately missed a lot of the season due to injury, but was outstanding at the start of the season and very much in Fabio Capellos plans so there is still a good chance if the Spurs winger can prove his fitness in time for the World Cup he could be included in the squad.

A major part of Tottenham's success this season has been their defence with both Ledley King and Michael Dawson being outstanding. There are a lot of rumours circulating that Ledley King could get an England call up for the World Cup even though he will be unable to play every game and he will most likely not be able to train, but whether Capello takes the chance on him with his other defensive players like Rio Ferdinand also being injury prone at the moment we will have to wait and see. Michael Dawson has had his best season by far in a Tottenham shirt this year and the defender has received a lot of praise recently that could see him earn a call up, at very least to the provisional England squad.

Although at the moment they don't seem to be in the running both David Bentley and Tom Huddlestone have had a good season this year and both could add something to the current England squad. The problem for these two players is that there are a number of players in the Premiership at the moment playing similar roles and are ahead of them in the pecking order, however it can't be ruled out that they could be included with Bentley probably the most possible one to be included in the squad with a spot being available for a right midfield player due to Beckham getting injured.

The number of players, and potential players, that could get called up for England this year for the Spurs team is a real testament to the progress the team has made this season under Harry Redknapp. Redknapp has done wonders with the team and has built up a fantastic squad which you imagine will only get better if they do secure 4th spot as summer investment would surely take place.

Written by Sandy MacGregor a football blogger blogging about football news and football kits.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Mourinho master-class reason why Argentina won’t win World Cup

Anyone who doesn’t take an active interest in football could have been forgiven in recent weeks for thinking Lionel Messi was some four-legged, turbo charged mystical deity, such was the praise lavished on the Argentinean’s shoulders.

It is true that his recent performances, particularly in the Champions League demolition of Arsenal, were spell binding and he was deservedly put on a pedestal with the likes of Pele and Diego Maradona, but the praise did get a bit hysterical in places.

With the World Cup on the horizon many then turned to the underperforming Argentina national team, and whether like in 1986 one specially gifted player could carry the rest to World Cup glory.

This ‘Messi’ effect certainly had an effect on the World Cup betting, with the odds on an Argie win shooting in on the back of his Barca performances.

But the manager-of-the-moment- Jose Mourinho dampened the spirits of those backing a shock Argentina victory. Mourinho’s tactical master class against Barca, which saw his Inter side defeat them 3-2 on aggregate to make the Champions League final, showed just how to handle the little genus - namely to stick two men on him.

Every time Messi looked to break into even a trot, he had two, sometimes three Inter players surrounding him like flies round, yeah well you get the rest.

Consequently Messi was nowhere near as effective as he was in previous games.

What has this got to do with the World Cup?

Well it means that Argentina will need to have more than one player if they are to progress in the competition. The secret of Messi is well and truly out and he can expect some close attention in South Africa. So therefore it is up to the Tevez’s and Aguero’s of this World to prove they are better than their ordinary qualifying campaign showed.

Something that is easier said than done if recent Argentina performances are anything to go by.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Europa League final tickets - fans lose out again

Ever since my experience last season with the FA's scandalously low allocation of FA Cup Final tickets I have always had a bug bear with the amount of tickets that don't go to 'real' fans for big matches.

The same can now be said of this year's Europa League final, with Fulham and Atletico only receiving 12,500 tickets each - in a 50,000 stadium!

Yes some seats need to be open for the general public to apply for and,of course, the sponsors will get some for their generously backing, but does really require half the total allocation??

Fulham's biggest game in their history and although they don't have the biggest o support, they could comfortably sell double their allocation.

SO instead of a guy who has supported the Cottagers for 50 years getting to watch the biggest match in their history, some suited corporate type with no attachment to either team, maybe even to football itself will go there to quaff steak and red wine on a company freebie.

As you can tell the whole situation makes me angry!!

Roy Hodgson to replace Rafa Benitez at Liverpool?

OK, it is in that notoriously unreliable rag the News of The World. But the increasing crisis at Liverpool is pointing towards a managerial change in the summer, with boss Rafa Benitez conveniently blaming the board for the teams failures, perhaps in a desperate attempt to keep his reputation in tact (£40 million he spent last summer by the way)so their Sunday gossip stories may hold some water...

... with Fulham grabbing the headlines this week with their heroic journey to the Europa League final, boss Roy Hodgson's stock has never been higher in his own country (though he has always been highly rated on the continent). So it is perhaps inevitable he is being linked with a move away.

Would Liverpool suit him?

I would be perhaps a good time to leave Craven Cottage - a Europa League final, win or not would be a pretty special way to go out and it can be argued he can take the club no higher. But I get the impression this is just tabloid journos putting 2+2 together.

Click here and here to make your own mind up.