Monday, 2 September 2013

#SaveKetteringTown - Poppies wound up after 141 years

On Transfer Deadline Day 2013, Gareth Bale moved to Real Madrid for a reported £85.3 Million Arsenal signed Mesut Ozil for a reported £42.4 Million and Kettering Town, a club with 141 years of history got wound up.... for a £58,000 reported unsettled debt.

What a disgusting state of affairs. We heard this morning that Gareth Bale will earn a reported £300,000 a week wage at his new club Real Madrid. Don't get me wrong, Bale is a fantastic footballer, but surely someone needs to be drawing serious attention to fact that what one player earns in a training session and a lengthy soak in the bath, could have saved a Football Club today. How can football be in this state?

Kettering Town have 141 years of history, previously managed by Ron Atkinson and Conference North Champions in 2008. Now the town of Kettering and the fans will lose the club they have supported for a debt of £58,000. All this and it hasn't even made the little yellow ticker we are all familiar with seeing on the news. Instead stories of Premier League and worldwide super powers spending sickening amounts of money on players contracts, bonuses and agents fees will dominate the T.V. and the back pages of tomorrows newspapers. What has happened to proper football?

75,032 people were in attendance at Old Trafford earlier this month to witness Chelsea and Man Utd battle out a 0-0 draw. If every person in the crowd donated 77p.. yes just 77p, Kettering would still have a football club. Of course people will say "why should we? What has this got to do with us?" To a point I can understand that viewpoint and surely the Directors/Owners of the club should take full responsibility, as the whole situation goes back a few years now. Without the lower leagues, without grass roots football there would be no Football league, no Premier League and no Transfer Deadline Day.

Isn't it about time in this country that we started to support our lower league clubs? Shouldn't the F.A. be stepping in to ensure that our heritage and history is preserved, that grass roots football continues? It may now be too late to save Kettering Town, but as a football fan if you get the chance, please donate generously to save Kettering Town F.C. and remember that football fans owe a lot to lower league football. The clubs that provide platforms for our idols as trainees. Don't let the tradition of proper football clubs going out of existence continue. If the F.A. and multi-million pound football clubs wont help, then us, the real fans can.  

Sunday, 1 September 2013

West Bromwich Albion 0-2 Swansea City

Steve Clarke's West Bromwich Albion will go into the International break at the bottom of the Premier League without scoring a single league goal this season, after a 2-0 defeat to Swansea City at The Hawthorns this afternoon.

The result means Albion have failed to win in their last 8 league games, since beating Southampton 3-0 in April. This will cause concern for manager Steve Clarke, whose side rarely threatened Swansea today despite having good periods of possession.

A Ben Davies volley in the first half and a close range goal from Pablo Hernandez after the interval were enough to condemn Albion to a third straight defeat. The return of Nickolas Anelka and a debut for Scott Sinclair against his former club, were not enough to inspire West Brom, with the former having the Baggies best chance just before half time.

Early chances for Swansea from Michu and Wayne Routledge were not converted. This should have been taken as an early warning for Albion, who themselves could have had a 17th minute lead when James Morrison headed wide from eight yards. Ben Davies made Albion pay with a well taken volley just five minutes later, a goal Albion failed to recover from, despite Nicolas Anelka coming close, after latching onto a Shane Long through ball 31 minutes in.

After the break Swansea took control and should have had a second through Wayne Routledge, whose touch let him down before Myhill was allowed to block the ball. Steve Clarke threw Saido Berahino and Markus Rosenborg on with 15 minutes to play, but it was the visitors who doubled their lead on 83 minutes when Pablo Hernandez scored from close range.

With the transfer window shutting on Monday night, you would think Steve Clarke will be looking to bring in more reinforcements to help his squad, who have managed one win in eleven league games. It may still be early on in the season, but West Brom face two tough tests against Fulham and Sunderland next, with three points being essential for the Baggies to climb up the table and kick start their season.

Baggies fans... Who would you like to see joining in the next 24 hours and where do you think it went wrong today?

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Port Vale V Wolves: Match Preview

Kenny Jackett's men head into Saturday's clash at Vale Park fresh off the back of three crucial league wins, to push Wolves towards the top of League One.

Ahead of the game Port Vale have no fresh injury concerns and last season's League Two player of the year Tom Pope is expected to be fit, despite sitting out training last week. Joe Davis and Robert Taylor have both returned to training recently, although with a lack of match fitness this game may come a little too early for both.

For Wolves, Scott Golbourne is expected to make his Wolves debut today, following a transfer from Barnsley earlier on in the week and Kevin McDonald may also be in contention. Whilst Leigh Griffiths late exploits against Crawley last week, could earn him a place in the starting XI come kick off. Fresh off the back of a rejected bid from Nottingham Forest earlier this week, Bakary Sako will be expected to feature as Dave Edwards continues his comeback from injury.

Going into the final few days of the transfer window, Kenny Jackett will be looking to make it four straight wins, before knuckling down to business to bring in one or two more players before the deadline. 

Friday, 30 August 2013

Birmingham City V Ipswich - Match Preview

After Tuesday's epic and somewhat controversial encounter with Yeovil, Birmingham head into Saturday's Championship clash with Ipswich Town knowing a much need three points would give Lee Clark's men the much needed boost they need to kick start their push up the table.

Clark will need to assess the fitness of many of the starting eleven from Tuesday's encounter with Nikola Zigic (back), David Murphy (knee) and Akwasi Asante (hamstring) all set to miss out on the clash with the Tractor Boys. Clark is however expected to have Shane Ferguson and Darren Randolph available for the game, having recovered from their respective injuries.

Blues' last win against The Tractor Boys at St Andrews resulted in a 2-1 victory, with Nicola Zigic scoring a brace that day. A much younger and fresher looking Birmingham team will be looking to emulate their success come 3pm tomorrow. For Ipswich, last season brought around a 1-0 victory with DJ Campbell the scorer on the day. A repeat of that success would give Mick McCarthy's men a much needed boost

For Ipswich, Mick McCarthy will have a full squad to chose from, other than Tyrone Mings, the only absentee with Ligament Damage.

Blues fans, what are your views on the game, how do you think your team will perform tomorrow? Will Lee Clark's men get their first home league win of the season, or will a stubborn Ipswich side prove to much for Birmingham to handle?

Saturday, 31 December 2011

Birmingham City v Blackpool XI (Birmingham)

Myhill, Spector, Davies, Caldwell, Murphy, Burke, N'Daw, Fahey, King, Zigic, Beausejour.
Subs:  Doyle, Ridgewell, Mutch, Redmond, Wood.

Barry Ferguson starts for Blackpool against his former club.

Chelsea v Aston Villa - Starting XI (Aston Villa)

Aston Villa
Guzan, Cuellar, Dunne, Collins, Warnock, Petrov, Clark, N'Zogbia, Albrighton, Ireland, Agbonlahor.
Subs: Marshall, Bannan, Hutton, Weimann, Gardner, Bent, Delfouneso

Cech, Ferreira, Luiz, Terry, Cole, Meireles, Romeu, Mata, Drogba, Sturridge.
Subs: Turnbull, Hutchinson, Lampard, Bosingwa, Malouda, Kalou, Torres.

Birmingham City v Blackpool - Match Preview

The 80th league meeting between Birmingham City and Blackpool takes place at St.Andrews tomorrow, with both teams aiming to finish the year on a high, ahead of the new year push for promotion. Birmingham did the double over Blackpool last season in the top flight and a 2-2 draw earlier this season courtesy of a late Nicola Zigic equalizer will give the Blues the confidence they need to get a positive result tomorrow.

Having being knocked out of Europe following a valiant effort in the group stages and with just two league wins in seven games, Birmingham will be pushing to gain some much needed momentum to propel them up the table towards the play-offs. With well documented off the field problems, a win tomorrow would help ease matters for Blues fans and give hope of a push for promotion against another play off hopeful in Blackpool, who are currently lurking in 7th place. Birmingham City are now the league's only unbeaten home side and it is this home form that will see them over the line tomorrow in my opinion.

Chris Hughton has confirmed ahead of the game that he will be without the services of Stephen Carr, but will welcome Curtis Davies back into the fold, following his recent suspension. With Jordon Mutch and Liam Ridgewell still not up to match fitness, Blues boss Chris Hughton will be glad of defensive reinforcements in the light of the busy fixture schedule, which sees them face Peterborough away on Monday night before hosting rivals Wolves on Saturday lunchtime in the F.A.Cup. Jonathan Spector is expected to continue his run in the side in the wake of Stephen Carr's absence, something that Chris Hughton believes has helped the defender settle down in recent weeks and put in consistent performances.

For Blackpool, former Birmingham midfielder, Barry Ferguson returns tomorrow for the first time since leaving the Blues in the summer, alongside another former Blues man in Kevin Phillips. Blackpool Goalkeeper Matt Gilks remains sidelined, meaning Mark Howard will retain his place between the sticks for tomorrows game. Keith Southern is also set to miss out for Blackpool, who have the longest list of goalscorers in the league (16) in total. Ian Holloway's men have remained unbeaten in 8 of their last 9, so for Blues tomorrow will be a stern test of character and Chris Hughton's side will have to show some real resolve to beat Blackpool, a side who have proved equally as hard to beat on their travels this season as they have done at home, something Chris Hughton is particularly wary of.

With Blues now out of Europe, promotion back to the Premier League is the key target for the season. In my opinion, being only 6 points outside the play offs a win tomorrow would really help Birmingham gain some momentum, something that is going to be essential, should Blues aspire to gain promotion at the first time of asking. With Blues needing to get a run of wins under their belts, I am going to predict a 2-1 win for Chris Hughton's side, who for me just edge it in terms of quality.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Arsenal 1-1 Wolves - Match Report

Battling Wolves securing what could be a vital point at the Emirates yesterday, as Mick McCarthy saw his side keep out the Gunners after a barrage of attacks in the second half.

Wolves had slipped behind after been cut open by Yossi Benayoun's inch perfect pass to Gervinho who duly wrong footed Wayne Hennessey after only eight minutes at the Emirates. The goal settled down the Gunners fans and you get the feeling this transcended onto the pitch too, with Arsenal looking good value for their money. The Gunners had chances through Robin Van Persie and Tomas Rosicky to add to their tally throughout the first half. From then on in, you sensed the feeling that Arsenal believed the result was in the bag already, this is when lapses in their play started to appear. In particular Alex Song who selfishly tried a backheel when perhaps a pass to Robin van Persie may have been a far better option. Song was again guilty of lackadaisical play, attempting a sloppy back hell thirty yards from his own goal which proved to be Arsenal's downfall. Jarvis' cross was duly headed away by Johan Djourou, but only as far as Stephen Hunt who's volley took a deflection straight into the path of the in form Steven Fletcher, who found the bottom corner of the Arsenal goal after 38 minutes.

As the second half resumed, Arsenal picked up where they started the first period, attacked the Wolves goal only to be thwarted by the excellent Wayne Hennessey, who made save after save, parrying away shots from Rosicky and van Persie. As the game grew a sense of frustration grew around the ground as Wolves defended doggedly for their lives. The flash point of the game came mid way through the second half as the ball dropped to the edge of the area, Nenad Milijas 'tackled' Mikel Arteta, won the ball, but referee Stuart Atwell decided a red card was appropriate for what seemed a perfectly timed tackle from the Wolves Midfielder. With Wolves down to 10 men, Arsene Wenger threw the kitchen sink at Wolves with Marouane Chamakh and Andrei Arshavin making substitute appearances, but nothing could stop Wayne Hennessey's inspired performance in goal, stopping a fine volley from Thomas Vermaelen and making an excellent save near his post from Robin van Persie.

Overall a game in which Arsenal dominated possession and attacking play, but lacked cutting edge. Wolves dogged defending and the excellent Wayne Hennessey, proved that for all of Arsenal's attacking intent, it is goals that change games, and Steven Fletcher's 38th minute strike saw Mick McCarthy's men come away from the Emirates with a valuable point.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

West Bromwich Albion 0-0 Manchester City - Match Report

The Christmas fixture list may have been a sight for sore eyes at the start of the season for Baggies boss Roy Hodgson, with a tricky away day at Newcastle and a home fixture against league leaders Manchester City.

After a slow but steady start to the season, West Brom now find themselves hitting form at the right time. Just days after battling to a 3-2 victory over Newcastle, West Brom put in a solid performance against Manchester City this afternoon to take their points total to four over the festive period and were unlucky not to take all three. City dominated possession for large parts of the game, but a solid performance from the baggies back four in particularly Billy Jones, saw Manchester City fail to score for the first time this season.

With Sergio Aguero wasting a glorious opportunity in the first half, West Brom forced Man City to long range shots with Mario Balotelli's 30 yard rasping shot off the bar, the closest Man City came. A lack of cutting edge appeared the problem for Man City in the final third, although credit must go to Roy Hodgson's men for making it hard for the league leaders, with some brave, battling performances all over the field. David Silva, and James Milner wasted good chances for City from inside the box, when perhaps they should have been more clinical. The first half saw the Baggies restricted in the final third with defensive duties taking up much of the effort.

As the match progressed, West Brom grew in confidence and were unlucky not to grab all three points through a powerful drive from Jerome Thomas which crashed against the post. Shane Long also found space in the box and could have perhaps done more from Thomas' cross but fired wide. Chris Brunt also came close with a firmly struck free kick narrowly missing Joe Hart's right hand post in the second half. In a game which many thought Manchester City would dominate, it is West Brom who can come away taking all the plaudits after a solid defensive display, the baggies can also count themselves unlucky not to have taken all three points as they pushed forward in the second half. Overall a thoroughly deserved point for West Brom, capping an excellent festive period for the Baggies.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Birmingham City v West Ham Line Up - Blues Starting XI

Pablo Ibanez returns to Birmingham City's defence tonight for the game against West Ham, with Liam Ridgewell returning to the bench for the blues.

Starting XI:


Subs: Doyle, Mutch, Ridgewell, Zigic, Redmond