Posts Tagged ‘ West Ham United ’

Former Premier League Star Reveals He Is Gay

hitzlsperger

Former Germany midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger has announced in a newspaper interview that he is gay.

“I’m making my homosexuality public because I would like to advance the discussion of homosexuality among professional athletes,” he told Die Zeit in an interview to be published on Thursday.

The 31-year-old is the first high-profile German player to publicly reveal that he is homosexual. Continue reading

Premier League Fixtures Released

File:Old Trafford (262774812).jpg

From Wikicommons, user: russavia.

With just 59 days to go until first kick-off, the fixture list for the 2013/14 season of the Barclays Premier League has been released, and whatever computer the League uses to draw the fixtures clearly hasn’t lost its mischievous side. Manchester United’s new manager David Moyes looks to have his work cut out for him; his side will face Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City in their first five games. The clash with Chelsea will be the Scotsman’s first game in charge at Old Trafford and is a mouth-watering prospect considering it will be José Mourinho’s first return to Manchester as a Premier League manager, and Moyes’ first real test at United’s helm.

Continue reading

O’Brien Looking Forward to Cork Clash

Joey O’Brien is relishing the opportunity to return to his homeland when West Ham United go on pre-season tour to the Republic of Ireland.

The senior Ireland international was born and raised in Dublin before moving to England when he signed for Bolton Wanderers at the age of 16. Continue reading

Brooking Remembers Cork Stint Ahead Of Friendly

 

Sir Trevor Brooking is known throughout football as a true One-Club Man, having made 647 appearances and scored 102 goals for West Ham United during a glittering 18-year career with the Hammers.

What fewer supporters are aware of, however, is that Sir Trevor turned out for a host of smaller clubs following his departure from the Boleyn Ground in 1984. Continue reading

Explosion In Online Gaming Results In Sponsorship Opportunities

Over the last decade, the online gambling industry has exploded and this explosion in popularity has presented new opportunities for football teams in the forms of sponsorship.  Below are some of the squads who are
currently sponsored at least in part by online gaming companies.

English Premier League

At least seven EPL squads are sponsored by online gaming companies.  League champion Manchester United was the beneficiary of bwin’s decision to discontinue their association with Real Madrid.  In August the team announced that bwin.Party is the team’s new online betting partner. Continue reading

Limerick Revolution Knows No Limits

st2013 looks set to be a pivotal year in Irish soccer as one club bravely seeks to establish themselves among the footballing elite of the League of Ireland.

The words mediocrity, disappointment, death and rebirth give a thinly veiled history of two time League of Ireland champions Limerick FC, yet football on Shannonside looks set for something of a renaissance under the tutelage of Stuart Taylor, who has been handed a three year deal.

19 years have passed since the club last played top flight football and many Limerick fans are drooling at the thought of facing the best the country has to offer. The 19 year journey from falling through the trapdoor to their re-emergence is one that Lims fans will be hoping is well and truly something that remains in the past. Those dark days are long etched in the memory of fans and the club annals as their history depicts the numerous manifestations of the Munster side. Since their inception in 1937, Limerick FC have plied their trade as Limerick United, Limerick City and Limerick 37, with each name representing something totally different but not necessarily for the right reasons.

The early years were somewhat dull but the 1940’s brought great improvements to the banks of the Shannon as the club twice finished as runners up in both the league and cup. Success would ultimately follow in the fifties as the club laid their hands on their first national title and a Dublin City cup.

The turn of the sixties would prove to be their finest hour as they captured their first League of Ireland championship. Success would be hard to come by over the next decade as Limerick lost two FAI Cup finals before winning the blue riband in 1971.

The club endured severe financial difficulties in the seventies with fortunes on the field also hitting a snag despite league cup success and another batch of runners up medals from a FAI Cup final defeat to Dundalk. It wasn’t until ex Ireland manager Eoin Hand arrived in 1979 that the ship was steadied and League of Ireland success once again graced the mid west as did the FAI Cup in 1982.

The club changed its name to Limerick United in 1977 and won a League of Ireland Championship and FAI Cup under this name. Affairs at the club began to deteriorate after the FAI Cup win in 1982 and the beginning of the 1983-84 season saw High Court action with a battle for ownership. Soccer in the city was suspended for eight weeks pending a decision, which went in favour of Pat Grace, who changed the name of the club to Limerick City and also changed the club colours. Limerick City won the revived League of Ireland Shield and the Munster Senior Cup in its first season. The Shield was won in the last game played at Market’s Field in April 1984. They moved out of the Market’s Field to a new home in Rathbane for the start of the 1984-85 season, an unpopular decision with many fans and one that heralded a decline in the club’s fortunes.

The 1985-86 season saw the League of Ireland being divided into two divisions for the first time, with Limerick being granted Premier Division status. It wasn’t long before Grace departed and Father Joe Young took control of the club, who would now return to operating as Limerick FC.

Limerick were relegated for the first time in 1990-91, a year which also saw them lose a League Cup Final to Derry City. Current West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce was appointed as player manager for the 1991-92 season and immediately brought the club back to the top flight. Allardyce only remained for one season before departing to take up a coaching role at Preston North End. Limerick finished a respectable sixth in the Premier Division the following season and also won the League Cup, beating St. Patrick’s Athletic in the final. Relegation was to follow the following season and a long period of mediocrity and disappointment ensued.

Financial problems plagued the club, who had no real home at this stage and were often swapping between grounds. Danny Drew took over at the helm come the millennium and took the club back to Rathbane in an attempt to revive their fortunes. The 2001-02 season saw another League Cup victory but no improvement in the league followed over the coming seasons.

The true reality of the financial problems plaguing soccer on the banks of the Shannon was yet to become apparent. Limerick FC were denied a licence to compete in the 2007 First Division and this forced the FAI to seek new applicants to emerge to take their place and ensure soccer survived in the treaty county. A consortium known as Soccer Limerick would prove to be the victors and having done so moved the club now under the Limerick 37 banner to Jackman Park. Little success followed until last year when Pat Scully guided the club back to the top flight as champions, pipping Waterford United to the post by four points.

Scully’s sacking in late 2012 came as a surprise to all and the club immediately set about hiring a top level candidate. Scotland native Peter Taylor was eventually drafted in, beating a host of other well known candidates and has immediately set about restoring pride to soccer in the famous city.

Limerick FC (renamed again in 2009) now represent a model that is designed for success. 2013 will see the club play their home games at the home of Munster Rugby, Thomond Park, a move that has caught the eye of many across the country. In the form of Pat O’Sullivan, Limerick now possess a crucial ally in their battle to re-establish themselves among the footballing elite. With O’Sullivan’s backing and Taylor’s experience, it wouldn’t be too far from reality to suggest the Shannonsiders will be competing at the top end of the Premier Division in 2013.

Looking forward to his new role with Limerick FC, Stuart Taylor, explained, “I am delighted to be joining, in Limerick FC, a club with a great history but more importantly a clear long term plan for the future.  The transformation in Limerick FC since my days in the league with Drogheda is there for everyone to see.   The chairman exudes positivity and has impressed on me the importance of the club to the region and the potential role it can play in improving opportunities for young people in the region.  It is our aim to assemble a team that will not only play attractive, winning football but create a bond with the fans on and off the field.   The club has extremely passionate supporters and I look forward to their support throughout the season and I hope they will be proud of the performances the team put out on the park.  We have a good youth structure in place, a strong returning panel from last season and we hope to make some further additions before the season kicks off against Cork City.”

Taylor has immediately set about recruiting a squad capable of posing a threat to the big boys and has already re-signed last year’s First Division player of the year Rory Gaffney. Further signings are imminent as the Limerick faithful prepare for a bright future and given the outstanding achievements of Drogheda United last season, who knows where the mighty blues might end up in 2013. European football may well be on the horizon come 2014 but for now Limerick fans will just be happy to back where they feel they belong.

Boys In Green Look To Set Premier League Alight

The Premier League kicks off next weekend and Irish fans will have a keen eye on proceedings as the World Cup qualifiers loom. Following a poor Euro 2012 campaign, Irish fans will be eager to see the Boys In Green performing well for their clubs before Kazakhstan and Germany come calling.

Something that has become a recent trend is the number of Irish stars who are dropping down a level and this trend has certainly been prevalent this summer. Both Keith Andrews and Simon Cox have swapped West Brom for The Championship while Darren O’Dea scored a surprising move to Major League Soccer side Toronto FC. Of course with Wolves been relegated that further reduces the number of Irish players plying their trade in the top flight. Kevin Doyle, Stephen Ward, Stephen Hunt and Kevin Foley all look set to remain at Molineux and help the club bounce back to the Premier League at the first attempt. Sean St Ledger, Keith Fahey, David Forde and Paddy Kenny will also be prominent features in the Championship this term while the likes of Robbie Keane and Aiden McGeady are still plying their trade outside the British Isles.

But what about those Irish players remaining in the Premier League?

Everton will be hoping to qualify for Europe this term and will be buoyed by the fact that they have retained the services of long serving manager David Moyes, who spurned the advances of Spurs after Harry Redknapp was dismissed from White Hart Lane. Moyes has added smartly to his squad given his limited resources with both Stephen Pienaar and Steven Naismith joining The Toffees. Much is expected of the free scoring Nikica Jelavic but this hardworking Everton outfit will be largely reliant on the skill and tenacity of Seamus Coleman combined with the graft and experience of Darren Gibson, who seems rejuvenated having left Manchester United last January. Shane Duffy will be hoping to establish himself in The Toffees defence following some superb displays last term.

Robbie Brady will be hoping to break into the senior international set up quite soon. The Manchester United player has enjoyed a solid pre season and Alex Ferguson sees him as an adequate competitor for Patrice Evra’s full back position. With Evra ageing, Brady’s time looks set to be on the horizon although few would have expected the winger to convert to a full back following his tremendous displays on loan at Hull City last season

James McClean will be hoping to maintain his sensational start to life in the Premier League with Sunderland. Martin O’Neill will have his first full season at the Stadium of Light and despite the lack of transfer activity on Wearside you can expect Sunderland to push for a top ten finish while enjoying a solid cup run. John O’Shea will continue to hold up the rearguard while Keiren Westwood looks resigned to a number two role yet again. David Meyler will be hoping to have an injury free season and catch the eye of Giovanni Trapattoni in the process.

Hope springs eternal at Villa Park as the new season ushers in the era of Paul Lambert as Aston Villa boss. The club have overhauled their managerial structure and have rid of some players who simply weren’t up to scratch. There is still a strong Irish contingent at Villa Park though and it remains to be seen whether Shay Given and Richard Dunne will pack in international football in order to further their club careers. Ciaran Clark will be hoping for another solid season while under 21 star Samir Carruthers may well break into the first team following his substitute appearances last term. Stephen Ireland will be looking to re-establish himself among the Premiership elite and could be a key player for Lambert who will be aiming for a top eight finish and perhaps a league cup win. Keep an eye out for Enda Stevens, Graham Burke and Derrick Williams, three upcoming Irish stars who may well burst onto the scene this year.

Fulham are another side hoping to crack the top eight this term following a ninth place finish last season under the guidance of Martin Jol. The Dutchman has done well to retain the services of Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembele thus far as both players have courted interest from many clubs. Damien Duff and Stephen Kelly will be hoping to pick themselves up following Euro 2012. Duff will be looking to recover his form of old while Kelly, who recently signed a new contract, will be hoping to fend off new signing Sascha Riether to make the right back spot his own.

West Brom will do well to build on their tenth place finish from last term. Steve Clarke has taken over at the helm and opted to show Andrews and Cox the door. Steven Reid and Shane Long both remain at The Hawthorns and the latter will face increased competition for a starting berth this term following the arrivals of Markus Rosenberg and Romelu Lukaku.

Jon Walters will be hoping to set the Premier League alight this term following his appearances at Euro 2012. The striker will be hoping he can find the golden touch to fire The Potters to a better finish than last year. Glenn Whelan, Marc Wilson and Rory Delap all remain at the Britannia and will be key players as Tony Pulis’ side seek to build on a 14th place finish.

Wigan Athletic will be looking to avoid the drop again this season and will be delighted that manager Roberto Martinez has stayed with them. Martinez masterminded their terrific end of season form last year which saw solid wins over the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United. With limited resources he will do well to repeat that feat. There will be a heavy reliance on James McCarthy, who was a key player last term and was forced to miss Euro 2012 due to his father’s illness. Conor Sammon is the only other Irish player at the DW Stadium but for all his apparent strength goals have been hard to come by for the ex League of Ireland star and he will need a big change if he plans on cracking Trap’s plans.

QPR have enjoyed a great summer with their new found wealth enabling them to buy talented stars such as Park Ji Sung and David Hoilett. It’s been all change at Loftus Road, particularly in the goalkeeper ranks where Paddy Kenny has departed for Leeds United. Brian Murphy remains with QPR as a capable deputy to new number one Robert Green. Mark Hughes side shouldn’t have to worry about having another relegation battle this season.

Norwich City will be hoping second season syndrome doesn’t strike this term. It’s been all change at Carrow Road with ex Ireland international Chris Hughton replacing Lambert in the dugout. Hughton will do well to keep the Canaries up and will be looking to Wes Hoolahan and Anthony Pilkington as key players in doing so. Both players excelled last term with Hoolahan the most impressive. The former Shelbourne star has been unlucky this past week as he was forced to withdraw from Ireland’s friendly with Serbia due to injury. Nonetheless, he will be buoyed by the fact that he has finally caught the eye of Trapattoni. Marc Tierney may well earn an Ireland call up in the near future and the full back is one worth watching.

Premier League newcomers Reading will be aiming for top flight survival this term but under the guidance of Irishman Brian McDermott many expect that to be a formality. Promoted last season as champions, this Reading side features a host of Irish players. Following an impressive season last year Ian Harte was widely tipped for a shock return to the Ireland set up for Euro 2012. While that never happened it won’t discourage the ex Leeds United star who will be hoping to show he still possesses the quality to compete in the top flight. Noel Hunt will be hoping to blaze a goal trail which will earn him a return to the Ireland side while Jay Tabb is another Irish star involved with the first team. Pierce Sweeney, recently signed from League of Ireland side Bray Wanderers, may feature this term while ex Shamrock Rovers ace Karl Sheppard has been loaned to Accrington Stanley.

Playoff winners West Ham United have returned to the Premier League and will have solid ambitions which won’t feature a relegation battle. Sam Allardyce has added some fine talent to his squad and has made Irish keeper Stephen Henderson permanent, following a loan spell from Portsmouth last season. Joey O’Brien is the only other Irish player at Upton Park and he will be hoping for a standout season having been called up to the Ireland squad for the upcoming Serbia game. The three times capped star hasn’t pulled on the green jersey in over four years and will be hoping he can re-establish himself within the Irish setup. The 26 year old certainly has time on his side and time will tell if he can live up to the hype that was associated with him during his days with Bolton Wanderers.

With the World Cup qualifiers fast approaching and Trapattoni open to shuffling his pack, the time is ripe for a new star to emerge and stake his claim for a starting place.

The Curious Case of Carlos Tevez

So the Carlos Tevez affair continues to rumble along nicely. Despite angling fiercely for a move away from his current club, such a development has not been forthcoming. Instead, and perhaps rather surprisingly, the past few weeks have seen a return to Manchester City for the wayward Argentinian striker. Manchester City have been relying on set pieces and luck over past weeks, for grabbing goals, winning by relatively small margins and perhaps Mancini’s reversal is, at least partly, a result of that. But first, a quick recap.

August 2006 – Sky Sports reports that Tevez is refusing to play for his club, Corinthians. At the end of August, it is confirmed that both he and Javier Mascherano have been signed for English club West Ham United. In November, he leaves the ground early after being substituted. Shortly after, he throws a tantrum during a league match with Sheffield United. He helps West Ham avoid relegation, scoring the only goal in the last game against Manchester United. Despite being under contract until 2010, Tevez seals a £20 million move to the Manchester club.

2007-2009 – Tevez becomes an important player for the Red Devils, scoring in each of their campaigns, including the first goal during the Champions League Final penalty shoot-out. In May 2009, Tevez voices his dissatisfaction at having not been offered a permanent contract, saying his Manchester career will finish that summer. Despite United agreeing to meet the fee of over £25 million, and a five-year contract which would have made him one of United’s highest paid players, his advisors inform Manchester United that he no longer wishes to play for the club.

July 2009 – Reports rule out a move to Liverpool for the wantaway striker, because of the implications for a Manchester United player moving to their bitter rivals. Despite this, Tevez signs a five-year contract with close rivals, Manchester City, becoming the first player to move between the two clubs since Terry Cooke in 1999. Once again, he becomes an important club player, breaking his own goal scoring records and receiving two club awards.

December 2010 – Four months after being made club captain, he hands in a transfer request, citing both family reasons and a breakdown in relations with certain club officials. A senior City official described his reasons as ‘ludicrous and nonsensical.’ Tevez swiftly withdraws the request following talks, this time reaffirming ‘absolute commitment to the club.’

September 2011 – Tevez refuses to come off the bench in a Champions League game against Bayern Munich. Tevez offers a weak excuse, calling it a misunderstanding while receiving widespread condemnation from commentators and pundits worldwide. Mancini suspends the player for two weeks while an investigation is carried out. Following discussions with the clubs owner, Sheikh Mansour, Tevez is placed on gardening leave, instructed to stay away from the training ground, despite retaining his salary.

Fast forward to February 2012, and the end of a month-long transfer saga amid reports claiming meetings between AC Milan and Joorabchian, seeking a loan move for Tevez during the January transfer window, with the possibility of a full-time deal, interest from French side, Paris St. Germain, and Inter Milan, followed this month by a return to the City fold. The question here is, why do Manchester City want to retake on the burden of such a player?

With Tevez, many things are clear. Firstly, there are concerns over Kia Joorabchian and Media Sports Investments, who, it would appear, have an agenda of a monetary nature and may be pulling a greay many strings behind the scenes. Joorabchian is not a licenced agent and describes himself as an advisor. Joorabchian and the funds he has variously been involved with have third-party player ownership at the heart of their business. This self-branded investment manager has left a trail of destruction as he went. Investment in South American team Corinthians involved high-profile transfers, investment and a League title then a  police investigation, frozen bank accounts and relegation only two years after their triumph. West Ham too have felt the sting of getting involved with Joorabchian and his enterprises – the transfers of Tevez and Javier Mascherano saw them eventually fined over £5 million, with a further £15 million in damages to Sheffield United. The issue with third-party ownership is the influence held over the player. While it has been outlawed in the Premier League and Ligue 1, it continues to be practiced elsewhere in Europe. Joorabchian himself has noted the possibility for player influence, the potential for bad behaviour. Secondly, Carlos Tevez is a person and player to whom loyalty is evidently a concept unknown. Tevez may kiss the club badge on his shirt, and proclaim the fans to be the best in the world, but when he gets sick of his club, no contract, fans or certainly any semblance of loyalty will hold him back from getting away. His behaviour at Corinthians and Manchester City has clearly shown this attitude. Thirdly, Tevez has a blatant disregard for rules. This has never been as clear as during his time playing for City. There is no need to go into the happenings pitch side during the game against Bayern Munich. Not to mention his repeated insistence on flying home to Argentina against his manager and his employers wishes.

So think to yourselves, any clubs who might seek to take on this troubled player. Is this player really worth the hassle, not to mention the €8 million loan cost and a further €18 million if you choose to buy him? Sure, he might score you some goals, and help you advance towards being, in AC Milan’s case for example, genuine contenders for Champions League glory. But ask yourselves this – how can you be certain he’ll be there at the end of the summer? Sure, he may sign a contract, but Carlos has wiggled his way out of more contracts than you’ve won Champions Leagues. And for City, who are seemingly welcoming him back…how can they trust a player who refused to play for them? You can’t really blame Mancini for recalling the wandering striker back into the fold. After all, he does have true talent, and any team he would play against would have a genuine reason to worry. But if he spends any time on the bench in the next few months, will he pout and moan or simply refuse to play once again? If the Argentinian makes it through the rest of this season without courting further controversy then it will surely be some form of miracle.

A rap on the knuckles for Mr. Tevez is not enough. If there was any justice in the world, Tevez would be stripped of any salary, and banned from playing football, for a minimum of five years. Perhaps then he would gain a sense of perspective. Highly unlikely, but worth a shot. Failing that, Manchester City should refuse to either loan or sell him off. Instead, they should play him the required 10% of matches, so he cannot break his contract under the Bosman ruling. Then, he should be left to rot until his contract expires in 2014.

It is getting to the stage, however, where the football world is sick to death of hearing about the ungrateful and undeserving footballer. If FIFA won’t step in, then we are begging you Tevez. Please go away. And don’t come back.

Top 5 League of Ireland Players To Watch

With the new season just hours away, Irish News Review Editor Glenn Dowd takes a look at 5 players who are set to make a big impression on the League of Ireland this season. 

1. Ian Daly (St Patricks Athletic)

 Pete Mahon has snapped up former Irish under 21 international Ian Daly ahead of the new season. Daly is a seasoned campaigner who has enjoyed spells with Man City, Aris Salonika and Cadiz of Spain. 

He will be looking to get his career back on track and after a couple of games you can expect Daly to start banging in the goals for the Saints.

 2. Daniel Kearns (Dundalk)

 Kearns joined Dundalk last season having been released by West Ham United. His performances towards the end of the season caught the eye of many but Ian Foster was able to hold onto him. The talented winger will be a big star this year for the Lilywhites and the onus will be on him to provide the goods for Jason Byrne and Mark Quigley . He has already bagged a hat trick in the Setanta Cup as Dundalk put Linfield to the sword.

 3. Patrick McEleney (Derry City)

 18 year old Derry City Star McEleney will be looking to follow in the footsteps of former Candystripe star Paddy McCourt. McEleney fired home 14 goals last term as Stephen Kenny`s side stormed to the First Division title. He will be eager to mix it up with the finest the Premier Division has to offer.

 4. Karl Moore (Galway United)

 Moore showed glimpses of his talent last season while playing for UCD, but it was in the pre season Fif Pro tournament in Norway that he really stood out.  His performances attracted the interest of teams from across Scandinavia aswel as in England. However the Dubliner has opted to relocate to Galway where he will play a crucial role in keeping the club up.

 5. Aaron Greene (Sligo Rovers)

 Bohemians may well rue the departure of promising talent Aaron Greene to Sligo Rovers . Greene was one of the final players that the Gypsies held onto as they were hoping to sell him on to Darren Ferguson, a long term admirer and current manager of Peterborough United. 

Greene was often frustrated during his time at Bohs, with limited opportunities coming his way. Now however he will spearhead the Bit O`Red`s attack along with the returning Raffaele Cretaro.