England Manager – The FA have chosen

Precisely 25 days since Roy Hodgson sat in a post match press conference telling all of Europe that his time was up as manager of the England team, they have found his successor.

Just over 3 weeks since FA CEO Martin Glenn told everyone “we’re going to harness opinion and wisdom from the wider part of the game, it’s really important that we get this right. It’s really that we get England into a situation where we can build on the strength that we’ve got. I think we’ve got a lot of strength in this squad and taking it forward with the view to the World Cup in Russia. It’s important that we make the right decisions. So we will be canvassing opinions from former managers, current managers, clubs and players to make sure we get wisdom on to this area” to name their man.

It taken less than a month of “looking abroad”, “looking for the best person for the job” and “not ruling out a foreign manager.” To get as far as Sunderland…and appoint Sam Allardyce.

Mr Glenn himself has declared that he is “not a football expert” and whilst that is acceptable he is clearly attempting to rid himself of full responsibility if this goes wrong.

Sam-Allardyce-Image

Now it’s is obviously difficult to predict just how Big Sam will fare in the Wembley hot seat but it is at this stage easy to cast our opinion.

England have settled for what was available at the level they are currently operating on and off the pitch, mediocrity!

Having a look at the positives:-

  • Yes, England will be a more organised unit
  • Yes, England will be harder to beat
  • Yes, he may actually have the bravery to drop under performers not matter which club they play for
  • Yes, he may pick players that suit him and not sponsors or reputations (James Tomkins anyone?)
  • Yes, you would imagine “yes” is not a word he will utter to the top brass at the FA’s every request

Surely though…these are the basics of football management?

Is he even qualified for the job of National Manger?

  • No major trophy win
  • No trophy win since 97-98 (3rd division title)
  • A mere 33.6 PL win %
  • A total of 5 games managed against European opposition (1 win)

England’s failing have been in the cup competitions, they qualify relatively unchallenged from the seeded groups pre any major tournament. You just have to look at the 100% record pre France.

Taking a look at Bolton, Newcastle, Blackburn and West Ham under Allardyce’s command in the last 10 years hardly provides optimism.

Other than 2 League Cup Semi Final appearances where his sides have conceded a bucket load, he is a 3rd round exit specialist, bear in mind that most of these clubs would have entered at this stage and you have a manager who struggles to navigate through knockout football.

Club

Season League Cup FA Cup

Bolton

2006-07 3rd Round

4th Round

Newcastle United

2007-08 3rd Round

3rd Round

Blackburn Rovers

2008-09

N/A

5th Round

2009-10

Semi Final

3rd Round

SF – Conceded 7 to Villa over 2 legs

2010-11

3rd Round

N/A

West Ham

2011-12 1st Round

3rd Round

2012-13

3rd Round

3rd Round

2013-14

Semi Final

3rd Round

SF -Conceded 9 to City over 2 legs

2014-15

3rd Round

5th Round

Sunderland

2015-16

3rd Round

3rd Round

Manchester-City-Semi-Final-Image

Sam Allardyce it has to be said, is a fire fighter and perhaps that is just what the FA need to extinguish the flames created by a group of over-paid, under-performing multi-millionaires at Euro 2016.

There will be a good indication of his credentials very early on in his reign. England are arguably in their toughest qualifying group for a number of years with Slovakia, Slovenian and Auld Enemy Scotland to contend with.

However much the majority of the media dress this up as a fantastic appointment i.e. “how it’s just what England need” and with the  backing from the likes of Sir Alex and Jose etc etc. But let’s be honest…

IT’S ONLY SAM ALLARDYCE!

Sam Allardyce image sourced from; www.thetelegraph.co.uk
Manchester City Club Semi Final image sourced from www.thetelegraph.co.uk

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Euro 2016 – Tournament Review

Euro-16-Header-Image

Congratulations to Portugal, European Champions 2016!

An extra time winner from former Swansea man Eder was enough to silence the home nation and had Cristiano hobbling up the stairs to get his hands on that trophy.

The final itself summed up the majority of the tournament. Slow, tactical and at times left you struggling to stay awake.

In a game desperately in need of an opening goal, the 2 best chances did fall to the hosts. Griezmann should have buried a header from a superb Coman cross and with virtually the last kick in 90mins Gignac beat Rui Patricio but saw his effort clip the post and roll away to safety.

Portugal were, as expected extremely organised and even with the body blow of losing their talisman early in the game had enough spirit to win their 1st major international trophy.

Deserved or not Ronaldo seemed overjoyed to finally have led his nation to silverware. Might just have had a little something to do with Messi’s most recent final loss with Argentina and subsequent retirement we suspect!

Portugal-Image

Now that the final is over and done with let’s have a look back and give some of our winners in various categories…

Player of the Tournament – Antoine Griezmann

The French forward was a clear winner in this category for us. His 6 goals making him the top scorer and he drove his nation into the final single headedly on occasion. He looked tired against Portugal but did not deserve a runners up medal for his efforts over the last month.

Goal of the Tournament – Xherdan Shaqiri

Some cracking contenders for best strike but Shaqiri’s overhead kick just shaded it for us. It took Switzerland into extra time and was a thing of pure beauty. Honourable mentions go to Wales’ Robson-Kanu for his turn and finish against Belgium whilst Croatia’s Modric’s dipping volley against Turkey was also special.

Match of the Tournament – Hungary 3-3 Portugal

Sadly there wasn’t a lot to choose from here but there were a couple of standout games, none more so than this 6 goal thriller. The final game in group F became so very key looking back on it now. Portugal had sneaked through despite trailing on 3 occasions and as news filtered through that Iceland had scored a late winner in the other game Portugal knew they were in the “easier” half of the draw.

Wales 3-1 Belgium and Italy 2-0 Spain also provided good entertainment.

Team of the Tournament – 4-4-2 Formation

Team-Image

Additional moments of Euro 2016

  • Iceland’s performance and Viking chant (coming to a ground near you this season)
  • Zlatan’s international retirement
  • All 4 qualified home nations progressing through the group stages
  • Will Grigg being continuously on fire despite not kicking a ball
  • The terrible penalties witnessed in Germany v Italy
  • The moths invading Stade De France
  • Ronaldo’s tears and subsequent coaching performance

Euro 2016 provided some great moments and fairytale stories but was largely a poor tournament.

52 games produced just 108 goals, on 31 occasions both teams did not score in the same match and overall the average was just 1 goal every 44mins. Is this the best European national sides have to offer?

We believe that UEFA need to reduce the teams as the extension has created a different mentality this time around.

Portugal have won EURO 2016 winning 1 game in the regulation 90mins whilst failing to defeat Austria, Iceland and Hungary in the group stage. This should not allow any side to progress through in the way that the Portuguese have.

Roll on Russia 2018 where the added competition from other parts of the globe will create added spark and hopefully a more exciting tournament. Let’s just hope that the fan behaviour in the streets of France was not a test run for next time.

Euro 2016 image sourced from; www.scmp.com
Portugal image sourced from; www.thesun.co.uk
Team image sourced from; Lineup11 App


We’re delighted to announce that we have been chosen to be the dedicated Euro blogger for the cool clothing brand Xile Clothing. Based in Scotland, this edgy brand has 3 stores in (Edinburgh, Glasgow & Livingston) plus you can shop online at www.xileclothing.com.

Check out their blog (https://www.xileclothing.com/blog/)for all their latest news and trends and it would be awesome if you could support our blog posts on there too! ;-P 

Euro 2016 – Only 2 Remain

Euro-16-Header-Image

We have our finalists.

Portugal will face France for the title of European Champions, The contest will take place on Sunday in the magnificent Stade de France located just north of Paris.

The Semi Finals were always likely to be filled with tension and fear of defeat so close to the ultimate prize. All four nations however should have glided onto the pitch with belief in their ability, yet early on it appeared they were all riddled with self doubt.

Ultimately there were deserved winners in both ties.

In Lyon on Wednesday history was made…

Wales were in their 1st ever Semi Final of a major competition and faced a Portugal side looking to extend an impressive recent record in this competition (2 Semi’s and 1 Final in the last 4 Euro’s)

A dream was dashed with a bullet Cristiano header and a prod of Nani’s boot. Both goals coming in the space of just 3 minutes in the 2nd half gave the Welsh an uphill task they were never likely to complete. Ronaldo’s goal moved him joint-top of the competitions’ all time scorer chart, a position shared with the now disgraced Michel Platini who had also found the back of the net on 9 occasions.

Coleman’s men can travel back to Cardiff with their heads held high at their achievements as attentions quickly turn to towards Russia 2018. You get the feeling that Portugal’s tournament experience gave them that extra edge when it mattered on the night.

Ronaldo-Image

So who would Portugal face in Sunday’s showpiece?

A matchup which divided opinions saw the host nation run out comfortable and deserved winners. The World Champions headed home after a night where they struggled to find a killer touch, a familiar story since the start of the campaign if truth be told. I wouldn’t imagine anyone predicted Bayern’s Muller not scoring for a country always likely to contest the latter stages.

It was another night for Antoine Griezmann. The little magician who was rejected by many clubs in France as a teen due to his height is now the icon of the nation, 6 goals so far for the Atletico Madrid man.

A disputable penalty decision initially caused confusion before the referee made his decision clear at the end of a 1st half dominated by German possession. Schweinsteiger was a yard off when Evra connected with a header but it appeared more ball to hand than deliberate handball. That made no difference to Griezmann who calmly slotted the ball past Neuer for a lead at the break. Although Germany pressed for an equaliser Les Bleus always appeared comfortable and when their No 7 produced a neat, yet difficult finish for 2-0 it was game over. Substitutions were made both offensive and defensive in attempts to change the game but it was too far beyond the reach of Low’s men.

Greizman-Image

And so onto the Final of Euro 2016…

France will be overwhelming favourites, they have scored goals and unlike Portugal have actually won numerous games of football!

They will be at home, have the majority of support within the stadium and they have a team full of players on top form.

Portugal will once again be heavy reliant on the performances of Ronaldo and Nani who are capable of turning a game with a moment of magic but we just can’t see past the hosts.

Euro 2016 has provided us with so many stories and we believe it would be a fitting end to see France skipper Hugo Lloris lift the trophy at the weekend.

Euro 2016 image sourced from; www.scmp.com
Ronaldo image sourced from; www.indianexpress.com
Griezmann image sourced from; www.rmcsport.bfmtv.com


We’re delighted to announce that we have been chosen to be the dedicated Euro blogger for the cool clothing brand Xile Clothing. Based in Scotland, this edgy brand has 3 stores in (Edinburgh, Glasgow & Livingston) plus you can shop online at www.xileclothing.com.

Check out their blog (https://www.xileclothing.com/blog/)for all their latest news and trends and it would be awesome if you could support our blog posts on there too! ;-P 

Euro 2016 – Quarter Final Review

Euro-16-Header-Image

We are down to the last 4!

Portugal, Wales, Germany and France will contest the Semi Finals of Euro 2016. Some have progressed impressively and others not so much, let’s have a quick recap of the quarter finals:-

Portugal were the 1st team through with a penalty shootout defeat of Poland. An early goal gave hope of an open game but as soon as Sanches equalised that hope was diminished. What felt a long time later Ricardo Quaresma fired home the decisive kick. Somehow Portugal are in the Semi’s having not won a game in 90mins…Madness!

Wales, Wales, Wales what can you say? Their 1st tournament appearance since 1958 and a final appearance is within touching distance. They had the upper hand over Belgium in the qualifying group to get here and they carried that on in Lille with a come from behind 3-1 win. A long range drive from Nainggolan was cancelled out by Ashley Williams. Then a magnificent Cruyff turn from free agent Robson-Kanu had the Belgian defence baffled, he slotted home and a Vokes header sealed a famous win. Wales squad is littered with Englishmen and this will no doubt raised questions over selection policy at the English FA.

Wales-Image

Moving to Saturday in Bordeaux and it was fair to say we anticipated a memorable encounter. We got one in the shape of some of the worst attempts from 12 yards you are ever likely to see, Zaza and Pelle hang your heads in shame. Before 6 misses from the 1st 10 kicks, we were then treated to a tactical 1-1. You got the feeling that these two superpowers had a mutual respect for each other and were happy for the tie to be decided in the way it was. Italy have gone home with huge credit from the neutrals and Chelsea fans can look forward to what Conte can bring them next season.

Finally it fell to the host nation to end a dream. France disposed of the heroic Icelanders with a 5-2 victory, goals from all of the French’s key men will also bode well for them. Iceland had shipped 4 before half time but refused to go home without leaving every bit of fight on that pitch. They battled to the end and we all applauded as the scored a 2nd late on to make the score line slightly more respectable.

Onward to the Semi Finals this week where we will see Ronaldo v Bale and World Champions v home favourites.

One final game in the Stade De France awaits for two of these nations on Sunday 10th July.

Who would bet against an Andy King double? The Leicester man has already picked up the Premier League title this season, can he now lift the Henri Delaunay trophy?

Semi-Final-Image

Euro 2016 image sourced from; www.scmp.com
Wales image sourced from; www.mirror.co.uk
Semi Final image sourced from; www.totalsportek.com


We’re delighted to announce that we have been chosen to be the dedicated Euro blogger for the cool clothing brand Xile Clothing. Based in Scotland, this edgy brand has 3 stores in (Edinburgh, Glasgow & Livingston) plus you can shop online at www.xileclothing.com.

Check out their blog (https://www.xileclothing.com/blog/)for all their latest news and trends and it would be awesome if you could support our blog posts on there too! ;-P