FA Cup Final Focus: Manchester City

14.05.11

Can Tevez be for City what Ferguson is for Everton?

Even before I tuned into watch Everton play Man City last week, I knew Everton would win. I’d known since it had been revealed that Duncan Ferguson would be making his return to Goodison Park before the game. The big man is a true Everton legend, an icon who represents the commitment and passion that epitomises the club. In dark times, Duncan was our hero, he helped keep our heads above the water.

And Man City, in their current guise, don’t have that. It’s the reason why Everton have got such a hoodoo over them in recent seasons (we’ve beaten them in seven of our last eight meetings) and why City’s undeniable wealth of talent has not yet been transformed into the sort of genuine success, you know: the glittery silvery kind, that all their lavish spending surely demands. Is today the day that changes?

Click through to find out…

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FA Cup Final Focus: Stoke City

14.05.11

Pulis has transformed Stoke this season, can he finish it in style?

I wrote a guest blog, back in early November, where I suggested that Stoke were coming a little bit unstuck because Tony Pulis was attempting to take them away from their tried, trusted and maligned formula of direct football. Looking back now, it’s easy to think I was talking nonsense – Stoke are preparing to compete in the FA Cup Final today, and they sit a very comfortable 8th in the Premier League.

But back when I wrote that, Stoke had made a pretty average start to the season and you could really see them struggling to retain the Premier League status they had fought to retain, almost literally, for two seasons before this campaign. Pulis spent some decent money in the summer, bringing in some talented players who somewhat broke the mould of what we’d come to expect from Stoke City previously.

Click through for the full article…


World Cup Final Prediction

10.07.10

Will Spain celebrate a first World Cup triumph?

Four long years of waiting and it’s gone in a flash. It doesn’t help, of course, that England bowed out so soon but I have still enjoyed watching the latter stages of the competition and I think we’ve got a very good final to look forward to. I feel a bit sorry for the Germans who I thought were excellent and deserved at least a final appearance, but Spain showed their quality in the semi and the Dutch have been very effective throughout the tournament.

Which really only leaves one question doesn’t it… who’s going to win?

Click through to find out…


‘Respect the Fans’ Campaign

21.09.09

Not all Evertonians were as lucky as this lot...

Not all Evertonians were as lucky as this lot...

Back in April when the ticket allocations for the 2009 FA Cup Final between Everton and Chelsea were announced, I wrote a post about the idiocy of the FA. This was because they gave Everton and Chelsea each 25,000 tickets to the game while giving the remaining 40,000 to members of the FA’s Football Family. This, frankly, was ridiculous and unfair because it meant that some of the hardcore season ticket holders of both clubs would miss out on seeing their club in the biggest domestic cup final in world sport.

And it’s not a new thing either. For years the FA has been giving far too many tickets to its pals and forcing fans of the clubs who are actually involved in the matches at Wembley to buy tickets at extortionate prices through ticket touts, which is where many of those 40,000 tickets will have ended up. As I mentioned, I wrote about this back in April and you can find the article here, but I’ve just come across the ‘Respect the Fans‘ campaign which is well worth your attention and your support.

Click through to find out more about the campaign…


Young Lions: A Bright White Future?

29.06.09
The Young Lions overcome the curse of the penalty shootout in Sweden.

The Young Lions overcome the curse of the penalty shootout in Sweden.

With England’s Under 21s set to face off against Germany in the European Under-21 Championship Final, English fans could be forgiven for hoping that the future is bright for the national side. After the heartbreak of missing out on Euro 2008, England have bounced back, inspired by Fabio Capello and Stuart Pearce and are in the middle of a far more successful 2009. The question is though, regardless of the result in the final, can England’s talented crop of youngsters fulfill their potential and give England success at senior level?

Their success in this tournament is no one-off either, after they lost at the semi-final stage on penalties to eventual winners and hosts the Netherlands two years ago, and indeed that is their only defeat in seventeen matches since Pearce has been in charge. However, even with such potential evident in England’s younger players, we must acknowledge that success in the youth grades is no guarantee that the senior side will follow suit in the near future, after all the ‘golden generation’ failed to deliver entirely on the big stage.

Click through for the full article…


Goodbye Guus?

01.06.09
Guus Hiddink: could he be back at Chelsea sooner rather than later?

Guus Hiddink: could he be back at Chelsea sooner rather than later?

Since Guus Hiddink joined Chelsea in early February he has rather intoxicated the entire nation with his Dutch charm and gentlemanly conduct. Indeed, such is his enigma that he has actually started to erode at the universal hate that has been directed at Chelsea since they were bought out by Roman “money-bags” Abramovich. So in some ways it’s not just Chelsea fans that are sad to see him go, with many English football fans lamenting the loss of a genuinely nice guy (even if he did beat us in the Cup Final).

He’s off to fulfill his contractual obligations with Russia because he always said that he would, and he is a man of his word. He has been appointed as a ‘technical advisor’ at Chelsea, which is probably just a way of keeping him close so they can bring him back again in the future, should they need to. But my question is, do they really need to actually let him go at all? Why not just keep hold of him…

Click through to find out how he could stay…


FA Cup Final: Picture Special

31.05.09
Time for a game of 'Spot the Chelsea Fan' (Click to enlarge)

Time for a game of 'Spot the Chelsea Fan' (Click to enlarge)

While Chelsea may have been victorious on the pitch in the 2009 FA Cup Final, I think it was clear who won the vocal battle between the two sets of fans. The Blue half of merseyside hit London in force and throughout the game kept up an epic noise level, even after going a goal down they were still admirably roaring their team forward, and it is a shame that such superb support could not have been rewarded with a victory.

When Everton overcame United in the semi-final it was suggested that they created the best atmosphere that the new Wembley has yet seen and probably surpassed that yesterday, to the point where Setanta’s post match interview with Frank Lampard was almost drowned out by the defiant Evertonians. My correspondants at the game said before the match that it was a sea of Evertonains and that the Chelsea fans were hard to spot, and in that sense I think this photo sums it up. I can only find one Chelsea fan in there, let me know if you find more!

So here’s to Evertonains, the fans who deserved to win the cup, and the best fans in the world.

Ps. For my full match reaction, see the previous post.

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