Souness – an Accident Waiting to Happen

Being a Newcastle fan you learn to live more in hope than expectation, yet the one thing we do demand is to be entertained. Graeme Souness was on the verge of the sack from Blackburn Rovers in August 2004 and yet Newcastle United's walking public relations disaster and part-time chair, Freddie Shepherd, in his infinite wisdom decided to pay the Lancashire club for the man's services! £ 1.65m later and with several lucrative contracts sorted for Souey's entourage of a clueless old timer, a few well wishers and his 'yes' man Dean Saunders, Newcastle United proudly presented Souness to the media. The new manager spoke in glowing terms about the club and how proud he was that his son would grow up with a Geordie accent. In reality he was probably just amazed that someone had once again been daft enough to employ him.

With one of Souness' best friends being camp crimper Dale Winton, there is no doubt that the fiery Scot could have gotten a gig on Supermarket sweep or something equally as testing of his remarkable 'talents'. That is if he did not get angry with Dale hogging the spotlight and as a result launch into a two footed tackle on a shopping trolley. The one time I asked Dale Winton for a favor he did not come through for me, damn.

There was not the same fanfare from the Tyneside crowd that was usually afforded to a new manager as Souness made his first appearance at SJP. Keegan and Robson had been hailed as saviors, Dalglish was warmly received and everyone got the wigs out for Ruud Gullit. Not this time though, the Mags hammered Souness' previous club 3-0 (Souness was officially on 'gardening leave'). Blackburn Rovers were a shambles that day and many onlookers questioned how badly they must have been managed to get into such a state. Our new leader just sat in the stands beaming a wide smile next to his son who was a full Newcastle kit, possibly hoping that it would speed up the transition of his boy's soon to be Geordie accent. Fans knew even then what the chairman apparently did not until the last few weeks of the Souness tenure – this was an accident waiting to happen.

In my mind there is no doubt that Sir Bobby Robson had passed his sell by date long before he was kicked out of his job as gaffer. Not because he was a 71-year old man who forgot people's names, he was doing that in his 50's as England manager (Once calling Bryan Robson 'Bobby' to which his captain replied "No gaffer, you're Bobby, I'm Bryan! "), But because he was making no sense in his tactical decisions and had given his all but looked worn out. With that in mind Robson should have been told that his time was up at the end of the 2003-2004 campaign and could have gracefully moved on. Instead he was sacked just four games into a season, the third consecutive Toon manager to be ousted after a useful of early season games.

After all of the concerns over the new man, Souness started well and the club went ten games undefeated under his guidance. A number of fans were ready to accept him and yet there remained an overall feeling of skepticism in the North Eastern air. Mark Hughes was installed at Blackburn and immediately commented on how unfit his players were and that he was appalled with the stories he had heard about the training sessions before he arrived. Most people took his remarks with a pinch of salt at the time, only later did they seem apt.

It was only a matter of time before someone upset Souness and that man was the volatile Craig Bellamy, the club's most in-form player and also the most outspoken. Bellamy boasted to players that he would feign injury and refuse to play as he felt he was being wasted on the wings rather than his preferred role up front, Souness reacted by leaving him out of the match at Highbury against Arsenal. Souey claims he was willing to forgive and forget until the player did an interview with Sky Sports saying that his manager: "Went behind my back, right in front of my face." Of course this showed two things – 1. Craig Bellamy is about as intelligent as a monkey with Alzheimer's disease and 2. Souness' man management skills are appalling.

So Bellers was packed off to Celtic on loan and in many ways this was the beginning of the end. The team now lacking creativity and pace. When Kieron Dyer's old Hamstring / foot / liver / eyebrow injury inevitably recurred the team suddenly looked short of ideas and this is when Souness realized that a creative genius was needed and not content with just one, he managed to find three. Jean Alain Boumsong, to who defending is such a complicated art, was the first. If £ 8.5m is what he's worth then my Mum is the pope's wife. Then came the great Amady Faye – to this day one of the most under rated players ever …. That is if he is rated as the equivalent of a bag of treacle being ate by a diabetic man with no taste buds and false teeth. The third of these gems was Celestine Babayaro from Chelsea who is talented but gives about as much effort as Michael Barrymore trying to fish dead bodies out of swimming pools.

Out went talented players such as Olivier Bernard and of course Bellamy who ironically ended up at Blackburn. The team slumped to 14th in the league, injuries mounted up (as they had at Blackburn under Souness) and the only potential saving graces were the cups. The FA cup always looked a long shot; we were in the semi-final but faced an in-form Manchester United. The UEFA cup was more likely to bring us our first major trophy in 50 years, hopes that were soon extinguished. The 2nd of April, 2005, was one of the darkest days in Newcastle United's 113 year history. Aston Villa came to St James' park to face a Newcastle side that was unbeaten in nine games; they left with a 3-0 win over the EIGHT players that remained in black and white shirts. Firstly Steven Taylor was sent off for handball (Despite a great impression of a dying swan) and then any hope we still had of salvaging our season evaporated into the overcast sky. Lee Bowyer walked towards Kieron Dyer and started to throw punches at his colleague. Both players were red carded and thereafter criticized heavily in the media, but make no mistake, this was Bowyer's fault and fans were quick to see that. Be that as it may, it was Souness who was the fall guy as his team went out of both cups with a brace of 4-1 defeats to Sporting Lisbon and Manchester United in the same week. Now nothing was left to disguise the shortcomings of the manager in a misfortunate inaugural season on Tyneside.

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#MUTOUR | Gary Oldman interview


Sirius Black? Commissioner Gordon? 📺

You know actor Gary Oldman for many different roles, and he visited Man Utd’s squad in pre-season training…

📽 Manchester United

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How Taekwondo Can Help Football and Ice Hockey Players

Team sports are extremely popular worldwide because of their dynamic game play. But few other team sports are as popular as football and ice hockey. To clarify a common source of confusion by ‘football’ I mean soccer, and I am using the world football simply because the entire world excepting the USA refers to soccer as football. Some have called football the king sport because of the fact that it is simple to understand, it’s great fun and people know about it anywhere you go.

Ice hockey also has great popularity in many nations and it would probably be popular worldwide if it was easier to find ice in the hotter regions of the planet. All jokes aside, ice hockey is a serious team sport loved both by players and fans for its exciting style, elaborated tactics and the great skills needed to be a good hockey player.

As a Taekwondo instructor I have worked a lot with football and ice hockey players. The reason why such professional players would choose also to train in martial arts and especially taekwondo is that it helps their performance in their own sport. Taekwondo (TKD) is a famous type of martial arts mostly dominated by fast and explosive kicking techniques. For this reason, taekwondo training will help footwork, quickness and balance all very important both for football and ice hockey players.

The most important thing that a player can get with TKD training is flexibility and that helps prevent injuries especially knee and foot injuries. Feet and knees are essential for football and hockey alike. Both sports demand agility and often strain the athletes causing terrible injuries. Unfortunately it is common for football players and hockey players to suffer accidents during the game which sometimes prevent them from playing long periods losing time, training and money.

Not all the taekwondo styles are equal; my personal opinion is that a school that focuses on the Olympic style of sparring is the best choice for football players because training is focused on using legs, hips and the whole mid section.

If you are thinking of complementing your football or ice hockey training with taekwondo martial arts training the best thing is to find a good taekwondo school and talk with an instructor.

Because different players have different needs you should ask the instructor two basic questions:

1 How will taekwondo training help me?

2 What kind of taekwondo training do you provide?

For any questions or comments about finding good taekwondo schools don’t hesitate to contact me.

Yours,

Markku Parviainen

Chief instructor MP-TKD academy

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PL Moment: Birmingham earn first PL win


When Birmingham City FC tasted top-flight victory for the first time…

#PLMoment

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Football Betting Strategy – Tips on How to Win In Sports Betting

Sports betting has become a pastime for many and a recreation for many sports enthusiast. As football has many followers from around the globe, it has also made more exciting by betting done by enthusiasts and making guesses on who would win the game.

If you are an avid football follower and you are also into football betting, it is important to have your football betting strategy so that you can increase your chances of winning and of course, managing your risks as well. Of course, you are putting your money on the outcome of the game and for sure, you would not also want to simply lose it all.

If you are an enthusiast in sports betting, here are a few tips that might help you in placing good bets and in helping you reduce the risks and increasing your chances of winning.

– Know the teams. Have a research on the teams playing. Of course, with a good background on their past performances, training and past injuries can help you check out if they have the higher chances of winning the game over the other. This is one way of narrowing your risks in your betting and will also help you make a good choice when it comes the choice of team.

– Learn whereto put your money. In sports betting, there are different bets that you can choose from and your choice is crucial as different types of bets have different chances of winning and have varying risks as well. You can bet on the team that will win, which is called the straight bet and you can bet also on two teams winning in different games in no particular order. You can also bet on the scores of the game at halftime or after the entire game, and many other types of bets. Keep in mind that the more risks you are putting your money into, the higher winnings you can get and that should be a consideration.

– Learn to manage your money. In betting where there is no clear cut way to win, it is always important to manage your money well. Make sure to bet only on the most profitable wager type. Flat betting is also another football betting strategy that you can use to help you manage your money. This is done by betting a flat rate or same amount every game. Of course, winning on a small bet and losing on a bigger bet will still be losing for you, so flat betting can be a way to make good winnings.

These are just a few things that you can keep in mind in trying to make a football betting strategy. Keep in mind to also have fun as betting in sports is made not to earn money but to make the game more fun. Do not dwell too long on your loses and do not chase it as well. This will only lead you to more impulsive betting and may lead you to more losing as well.

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Jimenez Proud To Be A Wolves Player


“It’s a great honour to be here” 🇲🇽

New Wolves striker Raul Jimenez can’t wait to get started at Molineux

(📹 Wolverhampton Wanderers FC)

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