England’s most famous players

Posted by on Jun 6, 2018 in Blog |

The Football League has produced some world class players that have gone on to play for their country. Despite winning the World Cup in 1966 England had failed to win any other major tournament. It has often driven their supporters to despair seeing the national side fail to achieve success on the global scale.

Bobby Moore with the World Cup

Yet the reality is that as football becomes increasingly popular around the world England’s chance of winning a major tournament becomes slimmer and slimmer. The country may have the best league in the world, but with a population of around 60 million people there are far bigger countries that are picking from a larger pool of players. The man who captained the England side to its only major tournament win was Bobby Moore. As a player he was regarded as one of the best centre backs in World football. He made 108 appearances for the England side captaining the both at the World Cup Finals in 1966 and at the 1970 tournament in Mexico.

During his club career he made the majority of his performances for West Ham having advanced through their youth set up. He later went on to play for Fulham after leaving West Ham having played 544 times for them over 16 seasons, and when he eventually retired he had made 716 appearances in club football. There were two other West Ham players in the World Cup triumph, Martin Peters and Geoff Hurst. Hurst will always be remembered for the hat trick he scored against West Germany in the 4-2 win. His final cup clinching goal is forever immortalized with the accompanying commentary from commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme:

“Some people are on the pitch they think it’s all over … it is now”

He spoke the final words as Hurst smashed the ball into the roof of the net. When the competition had started Hurst was not in the team and only got his chance in the quarter final game against Argentina, after an injury to Jimmy Greaves had ruled him out of contention for selection.

Stanley Matthews in the 1953 FA Cup Final

In his career he scored 24 goals in 49 appearances for the national team. While playing for West Ham he played 411 games scoring 180 goals, before being sold to Stoke City for 80,000 pounds where he made another 108 appearances scoring 30 goals. Another famous Stoke player to emerge from the potteries was Sir Stanley Matthews. Born in Hanley in Stoke-on-Trent in 1915, Matthews started and finished his career with his hometown club. In between he joined Black pool and in the 1953 cup final against Bolton he swung the game Blackpool’s way with his amazing wing play.

Blackpool came back from 3-1 down to win 4-3, and Stan Morteson scored a hat trick for Blackpool. But the final was won by Matthews’ magic and it has become known as the Matthews final. During his career he lost six years as a result of being in the air force during the Second World War.

In 1961 he rejoined Stoke and played his last game for them at the age of 50. He retired at the end of the 1965 season having made 697 club appearances scoring 71 goals and he also won 54 England caps scoring 11 goals, and these figures would have been a lot higher if he hadn’t lost those 6 seasons between the ages of 24 and 30.

Another world famous player who played for “the potters” was the goal keeper Gordon Banks. Gordon Banks was playing for Leicester City when he was England’s goalkeeper in the 1966 world cup final. By the time he appeared in the 1970 tournament he had signed for Stoke. He was regarded as the best goalkeeper in the world. In the 1970 tournament he made a save against Brazil’s Pele that was not only regarded as the best ever save, but in 2002 it was also voted as number 41 in the UKs 100 greatest sporting moments.

In all he made 558 club appearances plus winning 73 England caps. In 1972 he lost an eye in a car accident but this did not stop him from playing for Fort Lauderdale Strikers in the North American Soccer League.

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Top 6 Best English Football Players Competing in 2018 World Cup

Posted by on May 27, 2018 in Blog |

With the 2018 World Cup nearing, English fans are ecstatic that England has secured their spot in the upcoming tournament. Recently, England announced their final squad who will be competing in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and there are 23 determined men ready to play their hearts out. There have been many World Cup predictions this year and it’s going to be up to these players to determine if England will be champions. Just who are these players, though? Here is a list of the six best and most talented English football players who will be competing in this year’s World Cup.

Harry Kane

Harry Kane is without a doubt, England’s finest player, and has been named captain for the tournament this year and will lead his country in Russia this summer. Kane plays as a striker for Tottenham and made his first appearance in 2011 in a match against Hearts. Over the last few years, Kane has played absolutely amazing, and is looked at as being one of the best center forwards in the entire world. Kane first captained the Three Lions for last summer’s World Cup qualifier in Scotland before he went on to wear the armband three other times. It was decided in early May 2018 by Manager Gareth Southgate, that Kane would lead the team in The Cup, and Southgate went on to say that “He [Kane] has a belief and high standards and it is a great message for the team to have a captain who has shown that it is possible to be one of the best in the world over a consistent period of time and that has been his drive.”

Dele Alli

Dele Alli

Alli is a stand up name who can light up this World Cup

Dele Alli has been signed to Tottenham since 2015, and throughout all of this time, he’s shown the world what he does best — goal scoring, dribbling, and off the ball movement. The 22 year old has lethal scoring ability and he’s considered one of the best young midfielders of his generation. Alli is also considered an all-round player who can skillfully play as a second striker. Alli is a stand up name who can light up this World Cup if he hits any kind of form.

Raheem Sterling

Raheem Sterling, despite being a newbie, is a great midfielder who has great strength. Sterling plays as a winger or striker, although he is most comfortable as a natural winger. Sterling has been praised for his adaptability and ability to play wide. Sterling received an award and was recognized as the Best Under 21 Playing in Europe back in 2014. This season, only two other players have outscored him and neither of them can match his 30% shot conversion. This will come in handy during The Cup.

Kyle Walker

Kyle Walker signed a five year contract with Tottenham in 2017. Although he’s only been with the team for a short period, today, he is one of the world’s finest right-backs. Although he is a right back, Walker has no problem defending in wide areas and using the ball in those areas. He reads the game well to anticipate where he needs to be to make an interception or to step up and win back the ball. Walker is one of the quickest in the league, and he’s shown up and shown out since his arrival, and it’s no wonder he is apart of the 2018 World Cup. He’s one of the biggest reasons the team has been able to perform as well as they have.

Marcus Rashford

Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford is the most fearless player on any pitch he plays

Marcus Rashford

Marcus Rashford plays as a forward for Manchester United and is the most fearless player on any pitch he plays. Rashford plays with a coolness and composure that you have to see in order to believe. Rashford is actually the only player in the England squad that started at a Premier League club and has never been loaned or sold. Rashford is the kind of player who can pick up the ball and drive towards either byline or goal. He’s a unbelievably talented and without a doubt, deserves his spot in this year’s World Cup.

Phil Jones

Phil Jones has been said to be England’s best defender, according to Manager Southgate. Despite some injuries, Jones was still able to secure his spot in this year’s cup. His talent never ceases to amaze. He is a brilliant machine that has had to deal with many injuries, as well as a fragile physique, however, when he’s at his best, he’s a one of a kind defender.

Final thoughts

These six men have overcome many obstacles to be picked among 23 other players to defend England this year. It seems as if England has a relatively easy group with the only standout team being Belgium. Kyle Walker said in a recent interview, however, that if England wants to take this home, they’re going to need a real miracle. We will see if England has anything up their sleeves and if these six players are going to bring it home at this year’s tournament.

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The most outrageous moments on the football field

Posted by on May 19, 2018 in Blog |

The passion of football league matches has produced numerous instances over the years where incidents have occurred that have been quite extraordinary. The minute coverage of these games by the media has resulted in these events being covered and shown around the world.

One of the saddest events to have occurred was 43 minutes into an FA cup tie Bolton and Tottenham when the Bolton midfielder midfield player Fabrice Muamba collapsed onto the floor and simply stopped breathing. It soon became apparent to players, officials and supporters the seriousness of the incident. The game was immediately abandoned and the ground was cleared. Muamba’s heart stopped beating for 78 minutes, but luckily due to the work of the paramedics at the ground, plus the presence in the crowd of Dr Andrew Deaner a consultant cardiologist at the London Chest Hospital, his heart restarted after 15 defibrillation shocks.

Paolo Di Canio leaves the pitch with the referee on the floor

One of the strangest moments involving a referee was when Sheffield Wednesday’s Paolo Di Canio pushed referee Paul Alcock in the chest resulting in the official to falling dramatically to the floor. Di Canio had become involved with an altercation Arsenal’s Martin Keown, and when Alcock showed the Italian the red card he reacted with the infamous push.

The result of his actions cost him a fine of 10 thousand pounds plus an 11 game ban. Although his actions cannot be condoned, the fall of the referee was due more to the shock of having been pushed. as opposed to the power of the action knocking him over. Paolo Di Canio was also involved in an incident that displayed great sportsmanship on his part. Playing in 2000 for West Ham against Everton the scores were level as the game went into injury time. In a goal mouth incident the Everton goalkeeper became injured and when the ball was crossed to Di Canio who had the simple opportunity of kicking the ball into the empty net and giving his side a victory.

However, when the ball reached him he caught the ball and pointed to Paul Gerard writhing on the ground in agony. This act went some way, particularly in the eyes of Everton fans, to atone for his previous incidents.

Another overseas player who got himself into big trouble after being sent off, was the Frenchman Eric Cantona after seeing red in a game for Manchester United against Crystal Palace on January 25th 1995. Playing at the tightly enclosed Selhurst Park ground in South London Cantona was subjected to a verbal assault from a Palace supporter. His reaction was to launch a “kung-fu style kick” at his assailant. It resulted in the Frenchman being banned from playing for Manchester United for the rest of the season and he was also stripped of the captaincy for his country.

The kick that got Eric Cantona into a lot of trouble

He was also given 120 hours community service which he served coaching youngsters at the Manchester United training ground. At a later press conference regarding the incident he issued his famous quote: “When the seagulls follow the trawler, it’s because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea, thank you” and promptly left the meeting.

With the coverage of modern day football being so intense there can be a general assumption that players who played in previous generations did so with little incident. This of course not true and many players in previous years were guilty of the same misdemeanors that modern players are charged with today.

In the 1975 Charity Cup game at Wembley both Kevin Keegan of Liverpool and Billy Bremner of Leeds were sent off for actually having a fight. As they left the field the both ripped off their shirts throwing them to the floor in disgust at the decision.

This resulted in a charge of “bringing the game into disrepute” and both players were banned for eleven games. Many people felt the severity of the punishment was mainly as a result of the game being played at Wembley, and the lack of respect they showed to the venue. Football has been full of controversial incidents.

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The “Sleeping Giants” in English football

Posted by on May 8, 2018 in Blog |

There are sides today that are playing in divisions that they, and their supporters believe, are a level lower than they should be playing in. These sides are often referred to as “Sleeping Giants” and they have for some reason have experienced a run of results has seen them relegated from the top flight into a lower division.

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The famous family connections in English football

Posted by on Apr 22, 2018 in Blog |

When Bobby Moore lifted the World Cup for England at Wembley in the 1966 final, his side contained two brothers, Jack and Bobby. Despite this being a rare occurrence to have two members of the same family to win World Cup medals it is not the only time that has been instances when the same family have produced professional footballers in England.

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The story of the FA cup

Posted by on Apr 20, 2018 in Blog |

The FA Cup is the most famous domestic cup competition in the world. It is held annually and the entrants include all teams from the first 10 levels of English football. Over 750 teams enter the competition and the final is played at Wembley Stadium. The competition starts at the beginning of the season for the smallest clubs in the qualifying rounds and the Premiership clubs do not enter if until the 3rd round proper is played at the start of January. The competition has been running since the 1871-72 season which was 16 years before the Football League was created.

Ronnie Radford celebrating with Ricky George

Its huge history has resulted in the majority of English footballers dreaming of playing in FA cup final. Other country’s domestic cups simply do not have the same appeal as England’s premier cup competition. In recent years there has been a growing concern that due to the amount of money being put into the Premier League the clubs are not taking the FA cup as seriously as they used to. One of the magical attractions of the competition is that the draw can produce some fascinating fixtures. A side from the National League can win their way through to the 3rd round proper and find themselves drawn against the highest paid footballers in the country.

This has occurred on a number of occasions and there have been times when the big teams have become part of a “giant killing act”. The results of these games are remembered for years and makes household names out of part-time professional footballers who normally would not have the opportunity to make the headlines. One of the most famous 3rd round games was when Hereford United from the Southern league played First Division Newcastle United at Edgar Street in 1972. It was a replay after the none-league side had drawn 2-2 at Newcastle. Despite going 1-0 down Hereford then levelled and eventually won 2-1.

The quality of the equalizer from Ronnie Radford was spectacular and when substitute Ricky George scored the winner in extra time it sparked off wild celebrations from both players and supporters. There may have been 5 levels of football separating the two teams, but on this day the atmosphere of the FA cup had proved to be a great leveler. Another major shock had occurred the year before in 1971 when the top side in England, Leeds United visited Layer Road, the home of Fourth Division Colchester United, for a 4th round cup tie. Managed by Don Revie the Yorkshire side were dominating every competition throughout the land and were strong favorites win comfortably on their day trip to Essex.

Bob Stokoe thanking the Sunderland goalkeeper Jim Montgomery

Inspired by two goals from striker Ray Crawford Colchester found themselves surprisingly 3-0 in the lead. Despite a strong come-back from Leeds Colchester hung on to record an amazing 3-2 victory. The final that take place at Wembley in May, have become iconic events in the British sporting calendar that rank alongside Grand National Day and Derby Day. Even the finals have produced major surprises over the years.

Leeds recovered from the Colchester defeat by winning the FA Cup in 1972, and in the 1973 final they were faced by Sunderland from the division below them. The Sunderland side did not have one international player at the time, and for long periods of the game the only way they stopped Leeds from scoring was due to the brilliance of Jim Montgomery in the Sunderland goal.

However the manager Bob Stokoe had come to the final with a game plan and his ideas bore fruit in the 32nd minute when Ian Porterfield scored from a corner. The rest of the game saw the North-East team clinging on to their narrow lead and when the final whistle was eventually blown it produced wild celebrations as the Black Cats had become the first team since 1931, from outside of the First Division, to win the cup. These games are by no means the only giant killing acts that have occurred. Each year sides from the lower league are given the chance to humble their more illustrious opponents, and many take their opportunity.

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The famous managers of English football – part 2

Posted by on Apr 2, 2018 in Blog |

As well as England producing a number of managers that have been a success with the national team, it has also produced a number of ”larger than life” characters who have been successful in domestic football. Few managers have had films made about their career but this was certainly the case with Brian Clough who was the subject of the 2009 film “The Damned United”.

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