Premiership Season Preview 2006/07 – Blackburn Rovers

Premiership Season Preview 2006/07 – Blackburn Rovers

Premiership Season Preview 2006/07 – Blackburn Rovers

Blackburn Rovers

Odds: 350/1

Last Five Seasons

2005/06 – 6 (Premiership), 2004/05 – 15 (Premiership), 2003/04 – 15 (Premiership), 03/03/2002 (Premiership), 10/02/2001 (Premiership).

2005/06 Cup Progress

FA Cup Fourth Round vs West Ham United (a) – lost 4-2.

Carling Cup Semi Finals vs Manchester United – lost 3-2 on aggregate.

Top Goal Scorer 2005/06: Craig Bellamy (striker) – 17 goals.

Players In

Benni McCarthy (FC Porto – £ 2,500,000), Jason Roberts (Wigan Athletic – Undisclosed), Zura Khizanishvili (Rangers – Free), Francis Jeffers (Charlton Athletic – Free), Jason Brown (Gillingham – Free).

Players Out

Craig Bellamy (Liverpool – £ 6,000,000), Paul Dickov (Manchester City – Free), Gary Harkins (Grimsby Town – Free), Lorenzo Amoruso (Released), Vratislav Gresko (Released), Steven Drench (Released).

Blackburn Rovers were the Premier League's surprise package last season by securing a sixth placed finish following two seasons just above the relegation zone. Mark Hughes transformed the underachieving former champions and got the best out of bad boy Craig Bellamy, who finished the season as the club's top goal scorer.

Bellamy's outstanding form did not go unnoticed and Liverpool snapped him up for a bargain £ 6 million but Hughes has been quick to sign replacement attacking options. Porto striker Benni McCarthy arrived for an undisclosed fee believed to be £ 2.5 million. The South Africa international was art of the Porto side that won the Champions League in 2004 and signed a four year contract at Ewood Park. McCarthy has won 60 caps for South Africa and has scored 26 goals. He retired from international football after the World Cup in 2002 but reversed his decision two years later.

Wigan Athletic striker Jason Roberts also signed a four year deal, again for an undisclosed fee. Roberts was Wigan's top scorer last season with 14 goals and Hughes swooped after he turned down a new contract to extend his stay with the Latics.

Francis Jeffers completed a hat-trick of new strikers arriving at the club this summer, with the former Everton and Arsenal forward joining on a free transfer from Charlton Athletic. Hughes has also been linked with Nicolas Anelka, who has Premiership experience with Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City and Mido, who spent 18 months on loan at Tottenham Hotspur from Serie A side AS Roma.

Verdict

Blackburn's involvement in the UEFA Cup next season will add strain to Mark Hughes' squad which still lacks some strength in depth. It is unlikely that they will be able to recreate last season's sixth placed finish and mid table is more likely should they progress to the later stages in Europe.

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Top Five Nigerian Football Players That Caught Headlines for the Wrong Reasons

Top Five Nigerian Football Players That Caught Headlines for the Wrong Reasons

Top Five Nigerian Football Players That Caught Headlines for the Wrong Reasons

In Nigeria, the game of football is followed with a lot of passion considering the fact that the country remains the biggest exporter of footballers in major leagues of the world. The game is not however devoid of players who get famous for the wrong reasons. Below are the top five Nigerian players who though talented, were always at the receiving end of the media. Some are no longer active, while others are still actively involved in both club and country.

Etim Esin

Etim Esin was born in Oron in Akwa Ibom State, Southern Nigeria in the year 1960. He emerged as one of the most talented stars in the local scene when he helped Nigeria qualify for the 1987 FIFA World Youth Championship in Chile. His urge potential however suffered serious dent due to lack of discipline and arrogance. In the height of his escapade, Etim Esin was shot by armed robbers in 1987 prior to the Junior World Cup. The nail in his coffin came while he was playing for AK Ghent of Belgium in the early 1990’s, as he was convicted of raping a Belgian girl and subsequently deported back to Nigeria by Belgian Immigration authorities.

Tarila Okorowanta

Tarila Okorowanta was a creative midfielder who became a local folk hero while playing for Shooting Stars football clubs of Ibadan in the 1980’s. His career was however engulfed in controversy due to lack of discipline and frequent breaking of camp rules. Tarila Okorowanta made the wrong headlines when he defected to Italy while Shooting Stars of Ibadan were returning back from an African Champions Cup match in Tunisia. That rash action led to the eventual fall of his wonderful but short career.

Gbolahan Salami

Gbolahan Salami is a striker with the Shooting Stars football club of Ibadan. A bulky and exceptionally gifted player, Gbolahan gained fame when he starred for Nigeria at the U-20 World Cup held in Egypt in 2009. The rising profile of the bully striker however suffered some knocks last year when he was slammed with a two match-ban for verbally assaulting his former coach at Sunshine football club- Gbenga Ogunbote. To compound his woes, he got a one year ban recently when Shooting stars were forced to a 1-1 draw by visiting Crown F.C of Ogbomosho in a Premier League fixture played on Sunday 30th January 2011. He allegedly attempted to attack the match referee- Michael Oshei for awarding a late penalty against his club-side.

Junior Osagie

Junior Osagie is a former Enyimba and Super Eagles of Nigeria invitee who was fond of breaking camp rules. The highly talented striker could not fulfill his goal of play professional football abroad due partly to his erratic conduct and the negative influence surrounding his career.

Akpan Bassey

Akpan Bassey is the only goalkeeper in the Nigeria Premier League to be given a one year ban since the inception of the league. He was a member of the Ladan Bosso-led U-20 team that participated at the 2007 FIFA World Cup held in Canada. Though lacking in height, he remains one of the best goalkeeper in the Nigeria Premier League till date. His superlative performance has even earned him invitations to the Super Eagles of Nigeria on several occasions. The Heartland F.C of Owerri shot-stopper had earlier been handed down a $650 fine and a one match ban on the 20th of January 2011 for shoving a referee during a Premier league match against Sunshine F.C of Akure.

One sad trend that can be observed from each of these players, is that they are all gifted and talented, but failure to abide by the rules of the game adversely affected their career. It is a lesson which other aspiring footballers must learn from.

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5 Amazing Facts About Arsenal FC

5 Amazing Facts About Arsenal FC

5 Amazing Facts About Arsenal FC

Arsenal Football Club or Arsenal FC is a Professional English football club which plays in the English Premier League A division. This London club joined the first ever club from the South of England in 1893. Furthermore, since enrolling the First Division in 1904, they have gained the second most points. The club is regarded as one of the most successful clubs in Football.

So These are 5 Amazing Facts you probably didn’t know about Arsenal FC.

  1. The club was not intentionally founded to play Football
    The Arsenal FC club was originally for the purpose of mourning the 1886th victim of the Satanic cult. The club,in fact, was originally founded by a secret society. However, the official statement of the club was announced not before 1886.
  2. The haunting Stadium
    Before the division of the continents in ancient times, it is believed that the North London was the homeland to the earliest Aboriginal Americans. Also, there have been a lot of dead bodies of the Ancient Indians buried below the stadium ground.
  3. Bin Laden was a Die Hard Gunner
    It would surprise you hearing the fact that Bin Laden, the founder of Al-Qaeda group, was actually a regular season holder of Arsenal FC. It is also believed that he had attended the several major games of Arsenal. After the revelation of this unknown fact, the club finally decided to ban Bin Laden from attending the Highbury Stadium which was the previous official stadium of Arsenal Football Club.
  4. The golden Premier League Trophy
    The 2003-2004 premier league season is probably the life-memorably season for the whole football fans around the world. Arsenal successfully managed to win the Premier League title without losing a single match in 38 games played. Arsenal FC, however, grabbed the record of a record of 26 wins and 12 draws. The club was handed the only Golden Premier League trophy by the FA. Till date, not a single English Football Club has beaten this record. The club’s longest undefeated run was 49 games until the controversial penalty of Ruud van Nistelrooy ended the record. Since then, there has been a great rivalry between these two clubs.
  5. The one and only English Team that hasn’t been Relegated
    Arsenal Football club was finally promoted to the first division in 1919. Since then, the club has never got relegated. Probably there will be the only team in the history of Premier League not to downgrade its position. The team has been in the top flight English football since 1919-1920.

So these are the best 5 Facts about Arsenal FC.

Another mind-blowing fact is the current stadium, Emirates Stadium, is the second largest stadium in England after Old Trafford of Manchester Untied. This stadium has a total capacity of 60,432 while Old Trafford, The Manchester United Stadium, has little more with the total capacity of 75,635.

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Barcelona Economy

Barcelona Economy

Situated on a plain between the Llobregat and Besós rivers and lying between mountains and the sea, Barcelona is the second largest city of Spain, its largest port, and its chief commercial and industrial center. Barcelona has served as a crossroads of manufacturing – a vital centre of trading and shipping – since before Christopher Columbus set sail for the Americas. Its strategic location, on the Mediterranean Sea and near the border with France, has made its emergence as the principal industrial and commercial centre of Spain inevitable.

The mainstay of the Barcelona community’s economic life is based on cultural commitment to manufacturing. Barcelona’s reputation as a world centre for art, architecture and design is growing yearly with a plethora of cultural activities on offer. Besides highly developed economy and rich culture Barcelona also has high quality education. It is also the seat of two universities and many other educational institutions.

Barcelona is Spain’s foremost center of industry, both heavy (iron, steel, copper) and light (especially textiles). Spanish publishing houses are concentrated there. Traditional industries range from shipbuilding to skilled handicrafts. Textiles, machinery, automobiles, locomotives, airplanes, and electrical equipment are the chief manufactures. International banking and finance are also important. Tourism first became important in the late 1950s. Barcelona is today a very popular destination. So popular that it is getting really hard to find Barcelona hotels to stay during official vacations or international fairs. But because of such boom, a lot of hotels in Barcelona have been built and they offer comfort, quality and great value for the money, ideal for leisure and business travelers.

Barcelona as the capital of the autonomous region of Catalonia accounts for more than a quarter of Spain’s GDP. The growth of the economy has been the driving force behind Barcelona’s physical expansion and the region benefits from a large local market of some four million people. The economy is particularly strong in the motor vehicle industry, electrical engineering, publishing, wine production and consumer goods.

Barcelona has a highly diversified economic structure, in contrast with other major cities that are heavily reliant on one or two sub-sectors. One of the major economic features of Barcelona is the high relative weight of its industrial base, which greatly exceeds the average of other European metropolitan areas. Barcelona built its industrial might on its centuries-old status as one of Europe’s most important ports, a status it maintains today, with container traffic hitting record levels in recent years. Madrid might be the political and financial capital of Spain, but Barcelona holds sway as its most culturally and industrially vibrant city. Barcelona has highly specialized industrial sectors that are competitive and focused on exports, including the automotive, consumer electronics, chemical and pharmaceutical, food and energy industries.

Also Barcelona aims to create a free trade area between the EU and its Mediterranean neighbors by 2010. The further development of economic relations not only Barcelona, but all Europe with the Arab world, especially in the vital area of foreign direct investment, depends on the successful restructuring of internal markets and significant improvements in the business environment, as well as the implementation of trade liberalization policies.

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Rule Change May Help Profits

Rule Change May Help Profits

A change in the rules for the World Cup may help your World Cup Spread Betting options after a rule banning penalty takers from stopping at the end of their run ups before striking the ball. FIFA says its unsporting behaviour and will be giving a yellow card if players continue to do it. They can feint in the middle of the run up but not at the end. If the player stops at the end of his run up and then scores, the kick will have to be taken again. The issuing of the yellow card is where the spread betting comes in. If you had a 10 quid bet on the number of yellows in a match it could well bump up your winnings by a tenner a card.

Happy days.

Other World Cup news this morning. Marcello Lippi has left Fabio Grosso out of his squad after he trimmed it to 28 players from 30. He said he had no room for sentiment in his selections. There are now only 8 players from the winning squad in Germany 4 years ago and that could fall further when the squad is cut to the final 23. England’s players are at a high altitude training camp in Austria for 2 weeks in preparation for their first game in Rustenburg which is 1,500 metres above sea level. Capello had brought some of his Madrid squads to the same venue for pre season and likes the peaceful surroundings. Michael Ballack insists his Germany career is not over after he was ruled out of the World Cup with injury. Watch out Mr Boetang as Ballack has said he will start court proceedings over the tackle that ended his chances. Michel Platini has said that England’s 2018 bid can still survive despite the embarrassment caused by the Triesman allegations. And in a follow on to that Gary Lineker has left his post with the Mail on Sunday over their attempts to sell copies by scuppering the 2018 bid. Good lad Gary leads by example.

Transfer news sees a lot of the usual suspects in the news this morning, Man City are said to have entered the chase for Franck Ribery. Barcelona and Madrid are rumoured to have pulled out over his personal problems. Ajax wants 35m from Man Utd for striker Luis Suarez. Man Utd are set to bid 20m for Everton’s Jack Rodwell. Arsenal are looking for 50m for Fabergas in an attempt to stave off Barcelona’s advances. Barcelona are ready to bid 70m for Torres to stop Chelsea getting him, and Liverpool want to bring in Joe Cole and Stephen Ireland and insist they have the funds to do it. With Real Mallorca set to go into voluntary administration in Spain with debts of 85m euro some of these figures seem a little OTT. The total debt in La Liga now stands at over 3.5 billion euro. As Ali G would say «keep it real».

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