Robin van Persie.
The Dutch midfielder looks increasingly more likely to be one of David Moyes’ first signings as Manchester United manager. Is he the missing piece to United’s midfield? Probably not because there is more than one missing piece.
Here’s a look at some of his main strengths.
He gets angry when he misses. This shows his genuine passion and love for the game. It highlights his will to win, something embedded in every United legend past and present. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMcpvdlqkqs#t=00m09s
He doesn’t appear to be a racist. With the tarnished reputation that English football has regained with race relations, it’ll be refreshing to have a player brought over from the Eredevisie who isn’t a massive racist. Naming no Luis names Suarez. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMcpvdlqkqs#t=00m25s
He’s a dominant figure in the centre of midfield. He will never shy away, and is always prepared to receive the ball. This is clearly shown here as his name appears in huge capital letters above his head in the middle of a game. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMcpvdlqkqs#t=01m25s
He is a fantastic runner with and without the ball. If there is one thing that Manchester United’s centre midfield is desperately crying out for, it’s pace. Strootman may just be the solution in that regard. He can skip time. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMcpvdlqkqs#t=01m41s
Goals, goals, goals. That’s something the United central midfield hasn’t had since Scholes v1. Is Strootman the answer? I think so. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMcpvdlqkqs#t=01m58s
Is Strootman the man for Manchester United’s midfield? If not, I’m not going to be the one who tells him. Look at him when he’s angry. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMcpvdlqkqs#t=02m09s
Name of the Season – Geoff Cameron (Stoke City):
Much to everyone’s delight Stoke have had a terrible season and it’s no more than they’ve deserved. However, there has been one shining light in the Stoke dressing room and that’s been the prominence of Geoff Cameron’s first and last names. Not many people can say they’re just as shit as their name would suggest but Geoff Cameron does it with aplomb.
Nigel Adkins Best Mate of the Season – N/A:
Goal of the Season – Jon Walters vs. Fulham:
James Collins of the Season – No winner:
For the 4th year in a row, and since the awards inception James Collins misses out.
Signing of the Season – Stephen Ireland (Newcastle United):
Two years on and Stephen Ireland’s loan move to Newcastle still remains the signing of the season. At the time people didn’t even realise he had gone and to this day people still forget, the sign of an unsuccessful loan move for all parties? Absolutely.
Comeback of the Season – Michael Johnson (Manchester City/unattached):
This was truly on the verge of becoming one of footballs saddest sad stories. But it ended up becoming one of football’s greatest comeback stories. Michael Johnson was an extraordinary teenager who had not only broken into the city’s first team but he was their main man, keeping the likes of Gelson Fernandes on the bench. In 2008, he sustained an abdominal injury, and then a serious knee injury. It takes a special player to overcome these injuries and maintain fitness when luck is against you. Unfortunately, Michael Johnson career came to an abrupt end after 4 years without a professional match to his name. All seemed doomed for the once child prodigy. However, he took an interesting and somewhat surprising path, which has lead him to becoming one of BBC’s leading athletics pundits, excelling at last summers Olympics.
Manager of the Season – Jacques Santini (Tottenham Hotspur):
Few have made the transition from International Management to Club Management quite as smoothly as Jacques Santini has this season for Spurs. Santini’s fluency in English was the Frenchman’s trump card and he’s managed to play it at every opportunity. It was 2004 when Jacques made his first and last appearance in the Premier League, a worthy winner.
Young player of the Season – Mike Pollitt (Wigan Athletic):
Despite his age, Pollitt has emerged as one of the best goalkeepers in the league this season. Wigan have had an out of the ordinary season this campaign, and with the help of Magic Mike, have finally managed to shake off that label of the club “who just stay up”. It really is a scary thought that this is someone with just 23 years experience and 17 different clubs to his name.
Player of the Season – Wilson Palacios (Stoke City):
Sometimes, the obvious choice is the only choice. And that’s certainly the case with this choice. Choices. Palacios has had arguably his most influential season in England. He’s developed into more than just a tough tackling box-to-box midfielder this season, with 0.25 shots a game, it’s increasingly harder to dismiss him as a playmaking attacking midfielder. It was certainly a make or break season for Palacios for Stoke this season. And he arguably did both, apart from make. With 49 minutes spanning over 4 games, it’s difficult to look elsewhere. Will Stoke go down? Hopefully. Will Palacios still be there next year? Who cares.
Lifetime Achievement Award – Ricky Sbragia (Birmingham City, Morton, Walsall, Blackpool and Darlington, Sunderland):
Going into management with an unsuccessful playing career can be difficult, take Jose Mourinho for example. Some say Sbragia moved into management too soon after hanging up his boots; just 21 years after playing his last professional game at York, Ricky took the hot seat at Sunderland. His friends and family were concerned: “Have a break from football Rick!”, “Sbragia you need to rest!”, “You’re too young!”, “The pressure will be too much for you!” “You need more time!”, and “So it’s an ‘S’ then a ‘B’?”. Good things come to those who wait though, and Ricko took it in his stride, as he always did and was sacked at the end of the season.
Tell people you have accreditation
Do you have accreditation to a game of football? Yes? Well, that’s not a great surprise, you are after all a football journalist. You’re probably thinking that you should just go to the game, do the press conference, then write it up in time for the deadline.
No! No! NO!
Barcelona vs PSG Eindhoven
For the second successive year, all of the Champions League Quarter Finals have gone to replays. This has left all ties hanging in the balance, none more so than Barcelona vs PSV. Many believe this to be a forgone conclusion, with the Catalan Dragons grabbing…
Bayern Munich vs. Juventus – The group of death.
This one certainly is the group of death. Being the home side, Bayern Munich will have to be considered favourites. Especially if they keep up their run of scoring an away goal in every tie they’ve played in so far. However, Juventus will be encouraged by Bayern’s poor display against Hamburg at the weekend, and with a resurgent Mario Balotelli now fronting their attack, anything can happen.
PSG Eindhoven vs. Barcelona – The group of death.
Fierce European rivalries like this are what make the competition so special, few can remember the last time these two met. PSG are without Tyrone Mears as he plays his football elsewhere. This one can go either way and it will be all to play for. A true European classic tie. A master class in classics. A classic that Barcelona will inevitably win. And it won’t be a classic.
Real Madrid vs. Galatasaray – The group of death.
After all the hard work they had to put in on and off the pitch to beat Manchester United, the last thing Cuneyt Cakir would have wanted was a tie with European giants Galatasaray. These two Turkish giants are no strangers to big games, and with a resurgent Mario Balotelli leading the line, anything can happen.
Malaga vs. Dortmund
Malaga can count themselves very lucky getting two byes in a row and getting to this round. Even if Dortmund win this and win the away leg, their points tally will not be enough to see them through. So expect a weakened side as Dortmund look to concentrate on the league and stretch that gap at the top of the Prem. As for Malaga? Well, your guess is literally as good as mine.
With the way that the first leg went, this game really is anybody’s to take. Either Galatasaray or Schalke could win. This really does hang in the balance. This tie is certainly too tight to call. It’s 50/50. I, for one, shall be well and truly sitting on the fence for this one. It’s one of those games that really could go either way.
If you think these vague predictions about the game are indications that I’m not sure what happened in the first leg. You’d be correct.
After a cracking first leg, it’s just so difficult to predict what will happen in the second. Dark horses PSG Eindhoven surprised many when they beat dark horses Valencia in Spain in the first leg. Not me however, it’s hard to be surprised when it doesn’t bother you in the slightest. PSG will be favourites, but football is a funny old game. So PSG will go through.
What’s the point?
This is a chance for current the United players to really stand out and be counted. Think Roy Keane vs. Juventus in ‘99, Paul Scholes vs. Barcelona in 2008, think Jordi Cruyff vs. Blackburn in 1996. This is it. Who will stand up and be counted? Mourinho probably.
Celtic made the most of fluking it through the group stages as they were demolished 3-0 at home. Luckily away goals don’t count so Celtic just need to score 3 to get through on the away goals rule. If Juventus score then they’re almost certainly through, however if Celtic grab an early goal then I can see Juventus definitely going through.
After a tight first leg it is all to play for in the second, the away goals rule has made this one rather complicated. Should Borussia Dortmund win this then they will be through to the quarter finals and it would mean Shakhtar will go out on away goals. Now then if Shakhtar Donetsk win, then they themselves will be through to the quarter finals on away goals. Got that? Good.
Despite the arrival of Mario Balotelli in January, AC Milan have hit a good patch of form. Barcelona, struggling in the league, will feel that this is the best opportunity for silverware this season. AC Milan will be looking to become the first Italian club to win back-to-back Champions Leagues for the first time since Barcelona nearly did it a few years ago. Expect this one to go the wire.
Will Porto hold on to their 1-0 lead? Will Malaga use their home advantage to turn it around? Who will come out on top? Will anybody be watching? Does Nigel Adkins have any mates? Not sure about the first 3 but it is a 100% no for the last two.
Schalke (?) vs. Galatasaray (1?)
With the way that the first leg went, this game really is anybody’s to take. Either Galatasaray or Schalke could win. This really does hang in the balance. This tie is certainly too tight to call. It’s 50/50. I, for one, shall be well and truly sitting on the…
All both of us at Get Goal Side regrettably attended Craven Cottage on Saturday to watch Fulham ‘entertain’ Stoke. Many people had this down as the worst game of the season, but despite the negativity surrounded the figure, it surprised many.
Here it is. The home of football.
The game started like all other games, except Geoff/Glen Cameron started. Here’s Theo trying to work out which one he was.
No luck. The game may have been absolutely woeful, but it was a great opportunity to taste one of those famous Craven Cottage pies. It was an opportunity that I decided not to take up.
Here’s Bobby eating a pie that isn’t a Craven Cottage pie. (bear in mind I had missed my weekly yoga session and am possibly still carrying a little holiday weight)
Half an hour in, Bobby is looking for Geoff/Glen Cameron.
Bryan Ruiz scored - Bobby failed to realise it was disallowed.
Half Time - surprisingly dull game. Nothing beats a beer in the sun with your mates.
No, it’s the same one.
The second half begins in the exact same action packed way that the first ended.
Some people said it was cold. But it wasn’t.
It was - he touches kids.
Game over, can’t remember the score, don’t care either. Don’t ever go to Craven Cottage.
From everyone at Get Goal Side.
P.S. Our ‘Highlight of the Day’
Source: surrealfootballThou shalt not steal if somebody has already tweeted that.Thou shalt not worship Pep Guardiola or follow false nines.Thou shalt not take the names of Diego Maradona, Eric Cantona, Thierry Henry, Franco Baresi, Henrik Larsson or Robbie Fowler in vain.
Thou shalt not think that any male…
The FA Cup’s popularity has decreased somewhat in recent years. The dominance of the Premier League, its importance and the monetary value to its respective clubs now means a run in the Cup is seen as a hindrance to a club’s survival in the league.
However every now a then a good old fashioned Cup run can see a team and especially their players being propelled from mediocrity to stardom, fame and fortune. That’s exactly what happened when Boston entered the FA Cup First Round Proper in the 2006/07 season. They were drawn against local rivals, League 1 high fliers A.F.C Bournemouth. Were they up for the challenge? You bet. Did they lose 4-0? Sure. Can they look back and say job done? Absolutely not.
But after a long hard fought cup run, how did the Boston United players’ fortunes change. Money, trophies and legacies surely beckoned for those 11 brave souls. So, ‘Where are they now?’
Andy Marriott: Having already played for the likes of European giants SC Beira-Mar, Andy Marriott was no stranger to big occasions, so him being in the starting line-up for Boston’s crunch FA Cup derby with AFC Bournemouth was no surprise. Boston was his 16th club and the club where he enjoyed perhaps the most success. Following back-to-back relegations in his first two seasons, Marriott felt he had gone as far as possible with the Pilgrims and sought pastures new elsewhere, ending his career at regional rivals Exeter City. He is now plying his trade at Unattached aged 42.
Jamie Clarke: The man, who many believe benefitted most from Boston’s famous 06/07 cup run, Jamie Clarke has all but lived up to his huge potential. After leaving Boston, he dabbled with the likes of York City and Grimsby Town before finally taking the leap up to Gainsborough Trinity via an unsuccessful trial at St. Johnstone. Proving that the step up was an easy one, Clarke was released at the end of his first season and controversially joined fierce rivals Guiseley. The dismayed fans were distraught but understood Clarke’s decision to continue his rise up the football ladder.
Mark Albrighton: The man they call Mark and the defender they call Mark, reaped the rewards from his pathetic performance against Bournemouth. Mark raked in the income as he quickly worked his way up the Footballing ladder on the back of Boston’s cup run. His meritocratic rise was as follows: Darlington, Rushden, Cambridge, Stevenage, Kidderminster, Nuneaton and finally, violent rivals Barwell where he has made no appearances to date.
Timothy ‘Tim’ Ryan: Timothy, or ‘Tim’, to his mates was a cocky young left-back learning his new trade. 31 at the time, ‘Tim’ had a dazzling career in front of him. It just needed that one special game to get his name out there and in the spotlight. The 06-07 Boston Cup run was just that, and sure enough bitter rivals Darlington came calling, a tough decision for ‘Tim’s’ young head to handle. But this was ‘Tim’s’ time, ‘Tim’s’ moment, ‘Tim’s’ epiphany if you will. Two seasons at Darlington, a loan spell at Harrogate town, ‘Tim’ saw out his glittering career at Conference North outfit and neighbouring rivals Stalybridge Celtic. Mission Failed.
Paul Ellender: As football farewells go, this is up there with the least cared about. Paul Ellender joined Boston in 2001 as a fresh faced, eager 27 year old. He left Boston in 2008 as a fresh faced, eager 34 year old. He was at the heart of everything right during their famous cup run, and despite being at fault for 3 of the 4 goals conceded that afternoon against AFC Bournemouth, he will remain in Boston folklore. For a short while. Having left in 2008, he rudely invited himself back to the club in 2009 for a brief loan spell, before finally getting the hint and leaving for good 12 games later. Moves to vicious rivals Retford United and spiteful neighbours North Ferriby followed before an unspectacular retirement called time on an insignificant career.
Chris Holland: Chris chose not to represent his native country, The Netherlands as he made 10 appearances for England’s Under 21s during his early career at Newcastle. Holland struggled to live up to the early hype that surrounded him. Little did he know, he was about to prove the critics wrong and be on the losing side in a first round cup tie. Luckily Chris had numerous chances to prove he was good value for those Under 21 caps. He failed, as spells at Southport, Leigh Genesis, Fleetwood Town, Burscough and stern rivals Guisely proved he was nothing more than a waste of a space.
Mark Greaves: Greaves arrived at Boston in 2002 with a huge reputation, which inevitably came with huge pressure having starting his career at Boston’s ferocious rivals Brigg Town. He joined the Pilgrims via Hull City and was an instant hit with the fans. The goal-scoring midfield maestro lived up to the tag with an impressive 5 goals in a meagre 158 appearances. The brother of Jimmy continued his impressive goal-scoring ways well into his latter playing days finishing with an unprecedented 0 goals in 10 games at his final club, and mammoth rivals to Boston, North Ferriby.
David Galbraith: “Don’t hold back…..world….the time has come to Gal-a-braith” That famous Boston chant heard rarely, if ever, throughout the tie. Despite coming from uncompromising rivals, Northampton Town, David was such a fan favourite with the Boston faithful that it meant fans were unaware when he left the club for arch rivals Kettering. He has settled at St. Albans, familiar surroundings as he started his career at Spurs.
David Farrell: Aged 41, playing for Stamford, not an appearance to record. Struggling financially.
Drewe Broughton: With 3.9 goals per club, Broughton had proved to be a risk worth taking to all the 21 that had signed him. Thankfully retiring at the ripe old age of 33 in 2012, his time at Boston will be the most fondly remembered. Already years past his peak when his spell at Boston came about, Broughton gracefully managed to play for another nine clubs in five years. Finally calling time on his illustrious career with brutal rivals Darlington. His career ended in the same manner that it started. With one goal. And no mates.
Francis Green: Like many of the players on this list, Boston United certainly wasn’t Francis’ peak. This game was his stepping stone to success. A vintage performance from the prolific striker saw him pulled off at half-time and it didn’t end there. Transfers came and transfers went just as quickly as his career fizzled out into a deep abyss of nothingness. He now plays for Spalding.
It’s the one everyone’s been waiting for, the Champions League Quarter-Finals are here and previewed by @Get_Goal_Side. Oh, shit, wait, it’s the Round of 16? Fuck that.
Galatasaray vs Schalke
This is the one that everyone is waiting for. In a tournament loved by so many, these two teams…