England v Moldova

Friday 6th September 2013

I watched the documentary http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uW0ebsf7ZRs earlier on in the day, documenting one of the worst England managers in history, as he failed to qualify for USA 94, despite having players like Shearer, Gazza, Seaman, Ince, Platt etc

Watching Graham Taylor flounder in a situation of his own making was embarrassing at the time in 1993, but watching it 20 years on hasn’t made the spectacle any easier to stomach or easier to forgive. Taylor really had no idea what he was doing…and we made him the NATIONAL team manager!

Later on in the day, I went to watch England play a world cup qualifier, and the parallels were shocking…Roy Hodgson is Graham Taylor. As clueless as each other, and getting similar results. I suddenly go the feeling that not only will England fail to qualify for Brazil as group winners, but if they do get through the play offs, it will be a shambles even greater than South Africa…despite Gerrard, Lampard, Rooney, Ashley Cole, etc

John Amaechi OBE

Tuesday 19th March 2013

I went to see a panel discussion on “Integrity of the Young” because Gerard Houllier, the ex Liverpool manager was taking part.

“The youth are both the most important and most vulnerable players when it comes to protecting the integrity of sport. This session will look at the threats and pressures to our next generation of sports stars, and to how community and sport-driven programs can help to proliferate knowledge and best practice in those circles.”

“In the context of recent cases of match-fixing and challenges of third party ownership, this session will also address the best training and education measures which could be implemented in order to safeguard the future of this promising generation. The panel will also open up to some of the personalities of the future for sport in Qatar, and showcase the variety of youth initiatives underway in the region.”

I came for Houllier, but I stayed for John Amaechi. He was the first speaker that didn’t patronise or regurgitate the same old stuff we had heard a thousand times before. He was such a breath of fresh air, that at one point, I almost started clapping, and later on, he did recieve a spontaneous round of applause…unfortunately, I can’t remember exactly what he said, but I did talk to him afterwards, and he has invited me to get in touch next time I am in Manchester!

photo_10John Amaechi OBE (Managing Director, Amaechi Performance Systems)

John Amaechi OBE is an organisational consultant and a high-performance executive coach. He is also a New York Times best-selling author and a former NBA basketball star. Since retirement from sport, John works with organisations in the US and Europe, from the business, educational, sporting and philanthropic fields, to help them assess, manage, maximise and retain their human capital. In the UK, John has his own charitable sports and community centre with more than 2,500 young people per week going through its doors receiving schooling in sport, leadership and life skills.

Reading @ Anfield Sat 20th Oct @ 1500 UK

Saturday 20th October 2012

After yet another mid season international break, LFC host relegation threatened Reading. Reading are yet to win a game with only Norwich and QPR below them. LFC kept their first clean sheet in the league against Stoke City but couldn’t secure a first home win in the Premier League of 2012/13 with the match finishing 0-0. That goalless draw with the Potters means our home record remains badly in need of improving. We’ve yet to win from four league encounters at Anfield this season and going further back to last season, our home record stands at six wins from 23 matches.

There have only been eight official games between the two sides, with all eight played following Reading’s first ever taste of top flight football in 2006, with four of those encounters coming in the Premier League. The Reds met Reading twice in the League Cup 3rd round stage in consecutive seasons: 2006/07 (won 4-3) and 2007/08 (won 4-2). Liverpool then met Reading in the 3rd round of the FA Cup in 2010, drawing the first game at the Madejski Stadium 1-1 before losing the replay at Anfield 1-2. The last league meeting at Anfield saw Liverpool seal a 2-1 victory thanks to goals from Javier Mascherano and Fernando Torres.

Whether it is fair or not, Suarez has now managed to become the most hated man in English football, and so now, the only thing that he can do now, to really change that, is next time he is badly fouled, but not too badly, is to ask the referee NOT to award a yellow card. Only an interruption of the pattern will make anyone re-evaluate their opinion of him. However it is done, an image make over is required or I fear he will be hounded out of the EPL by the media

There is a slight grudge element to this match, as Rodgers was manager at Reading for a brief period before being fired over poor results, and then ending up at Swansea…

As I said when the fixture list first came out, Rodgers is likely to be under pressure early in the season if results did not go his way, with tough games against Citeh, Manure and the Arse. Now, he has had 4 months to settle in, and the hardest games are out of the way, his honeymoon period is over. Fans will expect this game to be a convincing win, and if not, I expect murmurs of discontent to start bubbling…especially with 2 Anfield legends still living in Merseyside. Reading are there for the taking and are the calibre of team that must be beaten if LFC have any aspirations of top 4.

However, the biggest obstacle to 3 points is the available and fit personnel. The probable line up is very difficult to guess with so many injuries and fatigue being a factor.

Reina (hamstring) Agger (fatigue 2 games for Denmark) Skrtel (knock) Kelly (knee) Wisdom (knock) Johnson and Gerrard (fatigue from postponed England game) Flanagan (injury) Robinson (knock) Coates and Suarez (fatigue flying back from Sth America) Borini (foot) Leiva (tear)
Assuming every one of those mentioned does not play, we could end up with a team like this…


LFC @ home to Man Utd on 23 Sept 1330 UK time

Sunday 23rd September 2012

Liverpool and Manchester United lock horns for the first time this season at Anfield in what is Liverpool’s first home match since the findings of the Hillsborough Independent Panel were made public last week.

It promises to be an emotional occasion and both sides will pay tribute to the 96 men, women and children who lost their lives on April 15th 1989, with the captains of both clubs releasing 96 red balloons prior to kick off, while three sides of Anfield will form mosaics displaying the words ‘The Truth’, ‘Justice’ and ‘96’.

LFC should take some comfort from our recent encounters with the Red Devils at Anfield. We’ve not lost a home match since 2007 that encompasses four league games (three wins, one draw) and an FA Cup 4th round match that we won 2-1.

All time Premier League record:
Manchester Utd – Pos: 1st P: 776 W: 503 D: 163 L: 110 F: 1,551 A: 665 GD: +886 Pts: 1,672
Liverpool – Pos: 4th P: 776 W: 380 D: 196 L: 200 F: 1,239 A: 761 GD: +478 Pts: 1,336
Likely team


(Thanks to http://tomkinstimes.com/)

England 2 v 4 Italy

Sunday 24th June 2012

Man of the Match: Andrea Pirlo. The playmaker was kept quiet for all of 15 minutes as England set a man to shut him down. But he soon shed his shadow and pulled the strings for an Italy side that should really have won in normal time. His cool, chipped penalty inspired his team-mates to victory during the shootout.

England verdict: Started the game really well and created some early chances, but got the jitters as the game went on and allowed Italy to dominate possession. Mario Balotelli beat the offside trap on numerous occasions as the defence pushed up but he was eventually nullified. A lack of ability to keep or pass the ball eventually told as Roy Hodgson’s men looked very tired after about 60 minutes, never mind extra-time. England’s most creative player, Steven Gerrard, was tied up with defensive duties for most of the game.

Italy verdict: Deserved winners. The Italians eventually dictated the play after some shoddy early defending gave England a head of steam. Mario Balotelli’s forward runs provided huge spaces for Andrea Pirlo and Riccardo Montolivo to work in midfield and they punished England with a fine display of passing. It was a shame the Azzurri forwards’ finishing was not up to the same standard as they squandered chance after chance. Extra-time also went Italy’s way but again they were wasteful in front of goal. They finally bagged the victory in the shootout.

Could do better: Ashley Young. His place was one of the few that was in doubt prior to kick-off and his confidence appeared to be dented when the game kicked-off. The winger had chances to run with the ball when his full-back Ignazio Abate was isolated but spurned the opportunity to do so. His passing was way off target and he took too many chances in defence. He missed a great chance when England were under the cosh …. and then came the penalty miss.

Stat attack: Mario Balotelli has never missed any of his ten penalties in official matches.

England 1 – 0 Ukraine

Tuesday 19th June 2012

Man of the Match: John Terry The ball may have crossed the line when Terry cleared, but it was a herculean effort from the Chelsea skipper to get back. He was a man mountain at the back as Ukraine pressed and pressed in search of a goal.

England verdict: It’s the style we’ve come to expect from Roy Hodgson’s England: never looking to dictate the attacking nature of a game but happy to sit a little deeper and take the chances when they come. They could have had the game tied up sooner than they did and will need to be more clinical against better sides.

Ukraine verdict: The co-hosts took the game to England but lacked the ability to really cut through their opponents. Their tendency to shoot on sight doesn’t help their cause and they may have had more success with a bit of guile. They were desperately unlucky with the ‘ghost goal’ which crossed the line despite John Terry’s best efforts, but England will feel that is justice for Frank Lampard’s at the World Cup.

Could do better: James Milner and Ashley Young Yet again they failed to deliver and were the cause of frustration throughout. Young went missing for large chunks of the game while Milner’s only true contribution was a cross moments before he was subbed.

Stat attack: Wayne Rooney ended a run of 673 minutes without finding the net for England at major tournaments.

Qatar’s 21st World Record

Saturday 11th February 2012

A student with the certificate from the Guinness World Records

DOHA: A group of seven students from Stenden University Qatar succeeded on 10th February 2012 in organising one of the biggest events of 2012 and broke the Guinness World Records of the game “Hide & Seek”.

The previous record was held at 508 participants in England, while the new record held by Qatar stands at a whooping 1240 participants, which means well more than doubling the previous number. Katara hosted the university project in their continued support of the youth and humanitarian projects. The funds raised from this event are going to Qatar Red Crescent and their campaign toward the Horn of Africa.

An official adjudicator from Guinness World Records was present to ensure all rules and regulates are being carefully followed so to give the certificate on the same day after the event. The judge, Tarika Vara, was impressed and said that she never had students organising a Guinness World Record attempt.

The Peninsula