Posts tagged ‘Stoke City’
Ask most Chelsea fans who picked up more red cards Dennis Wise or Frank le Boeuf when playing for the Blues and most would go with the Englishman over the Frenchman, but they would be wrong.
A similar question could be asked in relation to who has been booked more times for diving in this season, PFA Player of the year Welshman Gareth Bale or Liverpool’s Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez. The answer is incredibly Gareth Bale. Bales has been booked on six occasions in the last 15 months, the last midweek in Spurs Europa Cup clash with Inter Milan, to Suarez’s two, the last in September 2012 against Sunderland.
Brendan Rodgers Liverpool’s manager raised the issue in the lead up to his side meeting Bale’s Tottenham Hotspur. He rightly or wrongly questioned whether the British press targeted foreign players and highlighted when they dived as opposed to home grown talent. The underlying message was the media can have an untold influence on perceptions.
This is not just a British trait, other players in leagues around the world have been labelled as ‘hard men’ when their record by comparison is far better than that of a player at another club; Perth Glory’s Jacob Burns has been one to suffer in such a way in the Hyundai A League, his reputation is far worse than his record for foul play. The same is true of some players being built up to be better than they actually are.
Interestingly, Dennis Wise probably suffered a little as at that time foreign players were just starting to come into the Premier League, so like with the Hyundai A League, they were immediately assumed to be more cultured footballers. Le Boeuf probably was technically a better player than Wise, but he was prone to a red mist descending over him and some pretty crude challenges.
What was good to hear with Suarez’ was how Rodgers came down hard on his when he admitted diving against Stoke City in an interview with Argentine television. Since then the player’s behaviour on the park has improved dramatically. How long will it take though for him to shrug off his reputation?
Some players will tell you, you will simply never change opinions, despite the facts.
The last few days have seen a change in fortunes for several top named footballers in England.
First of all there was the news that Michael “I won’t drop down the divisions” Owen is to be released by Stoke City. The former Liverpool, Real Madrid, Newcastle, and Manchester United striker has scored only one goal this season and has failed to start a Premier League game since signing a one-year pay-as-you-play deal.
Owen, who burst on the scene as a teenage at the 1998 World Cup has repeatedly said he will not drop down to the lower divisions in English football, so many believe the curtain has come down on his career, unless he can secure a deal in the Middle East or America. Even then it would be a risk to the club signing him as in 2010 he pulled up with a hamstring injury after scoring for Manchester United against Aston Villa in the League Cup and then was out for the rest of the season In truth he has never been the same player since rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament at the 2006 World Cup.
Another England player who looks set to face a sever blow to his income is Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney. Word out of the UK is that Rooney currently earning an unbelievable GBP230,000 a week, will be asked to take a pay cut as he is not going to be an automatic choice in Manchester United’s big games. Rooney has slipped down teh pecking order with the emergence of Robin van Persie, Japanese player Shinji Kagawa – who became the first player to net a hat-trick in the Premier League – and Danny Welbeck.
This could well be another shrewd stance by Ferguson, who may believe Rooney’s best years are behind him. Faced with a drop in salary Rooney may well seek a transfer prior to his contract expiring in 2015, which would mean Manchester United could demand a substantial price for the still lively 27 year old. It will be interesting to see how this one plays out. If Rooney is as dedicated to the United cause as he professes, he may take the cut on the chin. If he wants regular first team football or a similar salary he may well move on.
However one player who looks set to benefit from consistently performing well is Liverpool’s Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez. He has just been granted a pay rise that sees his salary go past GBP120,000 per week. Suarez signed new terms with Liverpool last Summer after rejecting moves to Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain, that saw his salary more than double to GBP80,000 per week. His new contract like most players at Liverpool was incentive based, and his 28 goals in all competitions this season has seen him trigger a pay rise. Liverpool’s owners Fenway Sports wanted a bonus oriented pay structure on all new contracts following the large sums paid out for under-performing players in the past. The pay rises kick in as soon as a target is reached. So love him or hate him Suarez has delivered on the park and has been rewarded for his efforts.
However, seriously is any sportsman really worth that sort of money per week?
If reports are true Michael Owen was asking for $40,000 a game to come and play in the Hyundai A League. The only good news is that no one was prepared to pay that for a player who has started 4 games in the past year.
Owen, 33 was one of the most successful strikers in British football, having scored 158 goals in 297 outings for his hometown club, Liverpool. In 2001 when Liverpool won the UEFA Cup, the FA Cup and the English League cup he won the Ballon d’or as the best player in Europe. A move to Real Madrid saw him maintain his good form as he scored 13 goals in 36 games. His record for England is also impressive having scored 40 times in 89 appearances.
Yet everything has to be put into perspective. Owen has been a shadow of the young player who stunned the world at the World Cup in France in 1998 scoring a memorable goal against Argentina. Just as it was playing for the national team that made people sit up and take notice, it was playing for England that slowed his career down. At the 2006 World Cup in England’s third game against Sweden he crumpled in a heap after 51 seconds and his anterior cruciate ligament had torn.
There is no doubt that this injury curtailed what promised to be a glittering career, and why at the age of only 33 clubs would not be prepared to consider a player with such a fantastic record and pay what he is asking.
In 2009 Manchester United took a punt on his reputation signing him as a free transfer from Newcastle United. He managed just 6 league starts and 19 in all competitions. In all he made 52 appearances including those as a substitute in all competition in three years scoring 17 goals. Another free transfer saw him move to Stoke City where he has made just five appearances and four of those as a substitute.
Yes, he was a superstar, yes his name means a lot to football fans, but not nearly as much as it used to. What is so incredibly sad is that he would have made a great deal of money from the game, so why would you try and squeeze so much out of a League that is just finding its feet. Sure his image has a financial value and many Liverpool and England fans would want to meet him and possibly see him play, but if that is the case reduce the wages and ask for a slice of the merchandising profit.
Some players want to keep playing because they love the game, and that is why they drop down the leagues and keep playing and helping the next generation. Owen, clearly does not love the game that much. One cannot blame Owen or his management for trying to squeeze whatever they can out of a new club, but when you have made as much money as he has and are well past your prime it is important to look at the damage such requests do to the value of your image! Keep on with such unrealistic demands and soon your image too will be worth considerably less.
So this season the playing fields really are even in the English Premier League, but we can’t say that we endorse this move. This season all of the Premier League clubs will be kicking off on pitches that are the same size. The pitches now have to measure 105metres by 68metres. Clubs such as Stoke City who have gained an advantage of having a smaller pitch and cramping teams that visit the Britannia Ground have had to increase the size of their pitch to meet the new rules.
Such a move was mooted in Australia, but it is a move that we do not applaud. One of the great things about travelling to different grounds was always seeing how teams coped with a narrower or a a wider pitch. It really sorted out which teams really could play football under any circumstances, and were able to adapt. Now there is no need to do so, and coaches will have very few excuses for getting it wrong on an away trip.
Football should never become homogenised, it is heading down that path and it is time that coaches and club owners aired their views to prevent it becoming a stale and predictable spectacle.
Stoke City’s most capped player Glenn Whelan has had a very interesting close season, certainly different to most.
First of all he took part in Euro 2012 with the Republic of Ireland who ended up losing all three of their group games, they were the first team to head home. Then Stoke went on tour to the USA, and Whelan went with them. He was sent off against Orlando City, Stoke’s sister club which is co-owned by club director Phil Rawlins and coached by former Everton striker and Stoke City fan Adrian Heath.IN fact Orlando play in red and white in homage to the Potters.
Whelan received a second yellow card for squaring up to fellow Dubliner James O’Conner who himself played over 200 games for Stoke.
Whelan then lost his passport and while the team moved on to take on Kansas City he had to fly to Washington DC to obtain a new passport.
Now who said the Irish were lucky?
Stoke City’s fifth choice goalkeeper Dale Eve had a rapid rise to the top in the past week, when he made his World Cup debut.
Eve, who is only sixteen years old was called on as a substitute in the second half of his native Bermuda’s 2-1 win over Barbados, making him one of the youngest players at any stage of the tournament.
The 6ft 4in goalkeeper joined Stoke from derby last summer having originally moved to England from Dandy Town Warriors.
His international debut however came under strange circumstances. Bermuda’s first choice custodian, Freddy Hall was playing for Northampton Town’s FA Cup defeat at Luton. Second choice Tahj Bell was suspended after “relieving himself in a corner of the National Stadium while warming up as a substitute” before a recent international. Third Choice Nahki Wells who plays for Bradford City opted to play for his club in the FA Cup rather than his country in a World Cup qualifier. He did however fly over for the second leg, and actually scored the winner in a 2-1 victory.
Is Dale on the Eve of greatness? Time will tell.
No doubt there is some football trivia nut out there who noticed prior to last weekend’s FA Cup Final between Stoke City and Manchester City, that the last cup final to be contested by two teams with City in their name was in 1969, when Manchester City beat Stoke’s near neighbours Leicester City courtesy of a Neil Young goal. Maybe it was meant to be Manchester City’s year?
In between three City named teams have reached the final, Manchester City in 1981, when they lost to Spurs in a replay, Coventry City who beat Spurs in 1987 and Cardiff City who lost to Portsmouth in 2008.
Watching the FA Cup has become a tradition, and in Australia tuning into SBS is part of that tradition but, Saturday night it felt as enjoyable as spending Christmas with Scrooge.
Craig Foster’s disparaging comments about Stoke City at half time were completely over the top and showed his lack of understanding of the history of the FA Cup. For those of you who were wise enough to get up and make a cup of coffee or visit the smallest room in the house, you made a great decision.
He claimed that Stoke were a dreadful side and that they did not deserve to be in the Final and that he was surprised they were there.
The great thing about the FA Cup is that as it is who is the best team on the day that makes it through each round. That is why unfashionable teams such as Cardiff City, Portsmouth, Stoke City, Millwall and Sunderland have battled their way to the final, and they have all deserved to be there.
The fact that only 55 teams have made it to an FA Cup final in 140 years of competition shows how special it is to make it to a final. To put that achievement down is not fair on the club and their fans.
Any football fan will accept that Manchester City were the better side in the first half, but as anyone knows when the score is 0-0 you always have a chance to win it, and Stoke against the run of play almost sneaked a goal. As much as we would all like to see the beautiful game played every week, it is an unrealistic expectation, and it doesn’t make the game less exciting.
It was disappointing to see a station that has done so much for football be so negative.
Stoke City may have demolished Bolton in the FA Cup semi final at the weekend to book themselves a place in the final for the first time in 148 years, but Pottermouth must have had a crystal ball as he recorded his version of Eminem’s ”Believe.” What makes this clip even more special is no one knows who Pottermouth is.
Having had Stoke as my top division team as a kid and always my second team after Swindon, purely because the great Gordon Banks was there when I was grwoing up, I hope they can lift the trophy next month.
A superb momento of a great day!
The United Kingdom’s National Health Service has just completed a survey of 25,000 football fans from around England.
The questions related to fitness, eating and alcohol consumption. At the end of the survey they compiled a league table of the results. Fulham are the unhealthiest fans in the EPL with 49% of fans overweight. 37% percent of their fans were found to be exceeding the daily recommended allowance of alcohol. To add to their woes Fulham also topped the London smoking league, with 33% percent of fans liking a cigarette.
Surprisingly Spurs fans are the healthiest, although not surprsingly when you look at their form until Harry Redknapp arrived at White Hart Lane, 85% of Tottenham fans drink over the daily limit. The good news is though that 77% percent of Spurs fans are non-smokers.
The League table ran as follows:
1. Tottenham Hotspur
3. West Brom
4. Aston Villa
5. Manchester City
6. Blackburn Rovers
7. Manchester United
9. Birmingham City
10. Stoke City
11. Wigan Athletic
16. West Ham