Tag Archives: football

Premier league predictions: 7/12/13

DISCLAIMER: I take no blame if following my predictions leads to a failed accumulator…and all the credit if they turn out to be correct.

crystal_ball

MAN UTD v NEWCASTLE UNITED

So many classic games between these two down the years. Who can forget Philip Albert (proud owner of one of football’s greatest ever moustaches) deftly lobbing a forlorn Peter Schmiechal at St James’ as the Toon Army ran out 5-0 winners in ‘96, or a pubescent Wayne Rooney casually cutting short a rant at the referee to smash home a volley from 30 yards back in 2005. And this could be another cracker. United are in a post-Fergie downward spiral of despair/ haven’t won in 3, while Newcastle are the proud holders of both the Manager of the Month and Player of the Month Awards – even after a humbling 3-0 defeat to Swansea.

PREDICTION: 2-1

CRYSTAL PALACE v CARDIFF

Tony Pulis gained his first victory as manager of Palace last weekend against West Ham and will be hoping home form will be the key to saving the London side from what has so far looked like an almost certain relegation. Coming up against a Cardiff side, who despite claiming notable results against Man Utd and Man City this season, find themselves on a run of one win in eight, Palace will be confident they can snatch a second consecutive three points. Palace have had three clean sheets in the past four games, and with this game pitting the two lowest scorers in the division against each other, goals could be at a premium. But then again when Marouane Chamakh is around…oh nevermind.

PREDICTION: 1-0

LIVERPOOL v WEST HAM

With the news England will face Uruguay in next summer’s world cup announced today we could all be forgiven for hoping Luis Suarez gets back to biting people rather than scoring ridiculous goals. Three of his four against Norwich were worthy of goal of the month and Sam Allardyce will be going ultra defensive in this one in an attempt to stifle the Uruguayans threat. Although with the Hammers having played several games this season without a recognised striker, I’m not sure how much more defensive they can get. West Ham have conceded 10 goals since they last scored and with Liverpool having won six from seven at Anfield it looks like a home banker.

PREDICTION: 3-1

SOUTHAMPTON v MAN CITY

A difficult one to call. Southampton have been impressive so far this season, with the likes of Lallana and Lambert playing ahead of an imperious defence (imperious until they conceded three to Villa mid week). Even though Saints midfielder Steven Davis completed more passes (109) than the entire Villa side combined (96) on Wednesday night, the 3-2 defeat means three losses in a row. Man City on the other hand finally got a victory on the road against West Brom last time out. City are scoring goals for fun but if Southampton can regain their defensive stability it could be close.

PREDICTION: 1-3

STOKE v CHELSEA

Stoke do not win against Chelsea. They have never beaten them in the Premier League era and have only scored three goals in ten meetings in that time. And with Mark Hughes’ side stuttering along so far this season you would be hard pushed to find people backing the home side in this one. Having said that Chelsea did concede three on route to victory against bottom of the table Sunderland mid-week and haven’t looked like a classic Mourinho side so far this season. Edin Hazard was unplayable at the Stadium of Light and if he is on form again it could be a long afternoon for Stoke.

PREDICTION: 0-4

WEST BROM v NORWICH CITY

Both teams are firmly established in the “too good to go down but not good enough to challenge for Europe” camp.  Although Norwich need to start putting the ball in the back of the net, and stop having to pick it out of their own soon if they are to avoid being dragged into a prolonged relegation battle. West Brom haven’t won in over a month but have been unlucky in draws against Chelsea and Aston Villa in that time.

PREDICTION: 1-1

SUNDERLAND v SPURS

Gus Poyet has at least got Sunderland putting up some sort of fight in recent games and pushing Chelsea all the way in their last outing at least suggests some of the signings Di Canio made can have a positive impact. But close defeats do not save you from relegation and the Black Cats really need to start picking up points soon. Spurs, and Villas Boas in particular, are also desperate for points at the minute as they seek to kick start their season. The smooth talking Portuguese boss has watched his side struggle to score in the post-Bale era, and with Sunderland having already shocked Man City at home this season, will be fearful defeat here will see him collecting his P45.

PREDICTION: 1-2

Hmm, quite a lot of goals it seems tomorrow. Will make for an interesting MOTD if it pans out anyway.

A B C D E F G H I Jesus Christ, how many groups does the Europa League need!

With 12 groups in total, just comprehending the size of the Europa League requires you to have paid close attention during those Sesame Street episodes as a youth. L is for Ludicrous.

As someone who likes to think of himself as fairly knowledgeable on football in general I have to admit I have paid little to no attention to Europe’s second competition this season and it all just seems a little over complicated for me.

With one eye on Forest’s attempts to climb the Championship table and the other on the more traditional fair of top flight football and Champions League action, games such as Dnipro V Pandurii, and Kuban Krasnodar V St. Gallen have unfortunately slipped me by.

The suits at Uefa, led by Mousier Plattini, have cobbled together the competition out of the ashes of the Cup Winners cup and the Uefa cup format and created a monster.

With big teams fielding weakened sides and blaming their involvement for lapses in league form, and other teams struggling to see the economic value of flying half way across the world to battle out for a 0-0 draw to secure third place in the group, the tournament continues to pail into insignificance. Ever increasingly in the shadows of its much more successful and better looking sibling, the Champions League, teams such as Swansea are seeing the harsh reality of having to play on a Thursday night somewhere in the midst of Europe affecting their league form so far this season.

Another issue. The teams that fail in the Champions league should not be allowed to enter the next stage of the Europa league. Like poor quality hand me down’s these teams shouldn’t be automatically sent to the Europa League for a second chance in the sun. All this does is clog up an already congested system. Plus many of those teams don’t really want to be in the Europa League anyway.

Jon can’t bear to think of a Thursday night kick off

Take Chelsea for instance. Even as they were on their way to winning the competition a couple of seasons ago, they didn’t want to be there. There fans didn’t want to be there. Abramovich didn’t want to be there. And their players certainly didn’t want to be there. With Chelsea about to take part in the showpiece final against Benfica, Jon Obi Mikel came out and lamented the fact he had to “play on Thursday nights in front of Channel 5 cameras”. And bless his little heart, he didn’t know the Europa League song and missed the “prime time” of Champions League football.

While having an AC Milan or Chelsea in the draw might look good on paper, in reality these teams only serve to dilute the respectability of the competition and with 48 teams already making up the group stages it is counter-productive to then add a further 8 at a later stage.

Undoubtedly having a second European competition is key in order to prevent the chasm between Europe’s elite clubs and the rest growing even further but I can’t help but feel a simpler version which keeps itself to itself without accepting cast off’s and winners of fair play tables would be more rewarding; both for the teams taking part and for those of us seeking a competitive enjoyable tournament.

Because at the minute all the Europa League seems good for is giving Jermaine Defoe a run out.

Sporting Week in Pictures (Oct 28 – Nov 5)

Another look at sports people posing for the cameras during the past week…

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2487856/Tiger-Woods-hits-golf-ball-Europe-Asia-tees-Bosphorus-Bridge.html

Since his off field antics came to light Tiger Woods has failed to find the form that made him the king of golf and this shot has got to go down as out of bounds. Woods was actually attempting to become the first person to hit a golf ball from Europe into Asia (Finally! We’ve all been waiting for that moment I know) as he hit the drive on Bosphorus Bridge in Turkey. I’m not sure local commuters will have been quite so happy with Woods taking over half the bridge to complete the feat mind.

http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/photos/sports-photos-slideshow/melbourne-cup-day-20131105-044303-192–rah.html;_ylt=AgKcNNZXnNI4ybCLwabKkp_4VpEB;_ylu=X3oDMTNrdnFtZWszBHBrZwM2MzQ3YTFhNS0wODY4LTM4MTYtYjIzYS0wMmEyNWQxNmIzOGQEc2VjA01lZGlhQ2Fyb3VzZWxQaG90b0dhbGxlcnlDQVhIUgR2ZXIDYzFlZDYyMzAtNDVkNC0xMWUzLWI1ZmYtMTBiZDkxNzE1N2Rh;_ylg=X3oDMTBhY2IwdWc5BGxhbmcDZW4tR0I-;_ylv=3

Fiorente won the Melbourne Cup horse race this week leaving the trainer and family visibly delighted as he passed the finishing post. Although by the looks of things the guy at the back might have gone a little overboard – much to the shock/delight of the lady in purple and green. With the prize money standing at over $6.2 million (Aussie dollars)  you can understand them getting a little over excited I suppose.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/article-2483149/Steve-Thompson-scores-80-metre-try-England-legends-victory-Australia-Stoop.html

The current international teams played out a tight Autumn test on Saturday which saw England come out on top. But as you can probably tell this isn’t a picture from that game. It is nearly 10 years since Jonny Wilkinson slotted that drop goal through the posts to seal victory in the 2003 Rugby World Cup final against Australia in their own back yard and in honour of that occasion some of the band got back together to take each other on for charity last week. The highlight of the game was undoubtedly hooker Steve Thompson’s 80 metre sprint/waddle to the line which was quickly followed by a pint.

http://www.theguardian.com/football/gallery/2013/nov/03/south-wales-derby-cardiff-swansea-pictures

On Sunday afternoon Cardiff City overcame their fierce rivals, Swansea City, 1-0 in torrential rain to secure the bragging rights over their Welsh neighbours. With police on high alert and potential for trouble always likely this fan resorted to old school playground tactics to mock the travelling Swansea supporters. You see you don’t need flares (the pyrotechnic not the trousers popular in the 1970’s) or missiles to intimidate your opponents, all you need is a pasty white beer belly and your thumb up your nose.

http://galleries.nba.com/gallery/Game_Action%3A_Oct._30#.Unlfgfm-2So

The NBA got under way last month and the New York Knicks’ Iman Shumpert has clearly spent the off season developing some new defensive tactics. That or he just really wanted a game of leap-frog with the Milwauke Bucks’ Caron Butler. I have to admit I have no idea what happened in the seconds after this image but I’m going to predict at least one of these three ended up on the floor.

Sporting Week in Pictures (October 21 – October 28)

Back by popular demand / I haven’t had time to get a new post up in a while. But here are the latest images from the past week in the sporting world.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2477863/Sunderland-v-Newcastle-Black-Cats-fans-wear-horse-masks-punched-police-horse-Bud.html

Sunderland’s first win of the season also happened to be the first Tyne-Weir derby since their infamous 3-0 victory last April against Newcastle which led to one Geordie punching a horse in the face (passion can do strange things to people). We cannot confirm or deny that this is the same horse in question but  Sunderland fans were keen to remind their north-east neighbours of the event on Sunday afternoon. Winning the game 2-1 also ensured they have the bragging rights for a few months at least.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2478231/Has-Joe-Hart-lives-Sportsmail-looks-biggest-2013-errors-Chelsea-calamity.html

You can see it all going through his mind; “Where has the ball gone?”, “Why am I jumping so high?”, “Where can I go on holiday next summer?”. Joe Hart’s error allowed Fernando Torres in to score an injury-time winner in the big Chelsea-City game at the weekend. The England no.1 is definitely going through some dodgy form but as of yet he hasn’t quite reached the heights of Rob Green v USA or Paul Robinson v Croatia and from a purely selfish point of view, as long as he carries on doing it for City and not England it’s ok with me.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/golf/10412836/Rory-McIlroy-Phil-Mickelson-and-friends-get-into-the-spirit-with-some-fancy-dress-at-Shanghai-HSBC-Champions-event.html?frame=2717496

 We have all seen Ian Poulter’s deathly competitive stare in recent Ryder Cup matches and no doubt Phil Mickelson has been on the end of a few of them in his time too. But I doubt he has ever been faced with Poulter complete with massive sword before. Fair play to Mickelson, he snagged himself a pretty fancy looking weapon of his own at the recent HSBC Shaghai golf event, but judging by the American’s look of concern he isn’t going to be asking for that trophy any time soon. And maybe it’s just me but I’m pretty sure traditional Chinese warriors did not wear sponsor-laden visors as part of their uniform.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/surfers-ride-biggest-ever-waves-at-nazare-during-st-judes-day-storm-8910801.html?action=gallery&ino=4

While most people were hiding indoors in the UK and across Europe as the St. Jude storm hit the classic foolhardy surfer instinct kicked in for others. Here you can just about make out through the rain Brazilian Carlos Burle taking on what in official surfing terms is called “an absolutely massive wave” off the coast of Portugal. Not technically professional sport but it’s dedication if nothing else.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/formula1/24691160

Oh wait hold on I forgot this was only supposed to be sporting images. Next.

http://www.news.com.au/sport/nrl/manu-the-beast-vatuvei-scores-three-tries-as-kiwis-beat-samoa-at-rugby-league-world-cup/story-fndujljl-1226747962417

Rugby League players are not known to be the sharpest tools in the box and Sonny Bill Williams did little to help that image during New Zealand’s victory over Samoa in the Rugby League World Cup. The man who can’t make his mind up whether to play League or Union (or occasionally box) also seemingly struggles to remember where the try zone ends. After sauntering past the Samoan tackles all he had to do was put the ball down. Unfortunately that proved a step too far. Luckily for him New Zealand were already 36-24 up and went on to win the game 42-24. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/rugby-league/24704332)

Sporting Week in Pictures, September 7 – 15

Another round up of some people photographed playing sport.

http://www.mlive.com/mayweather/index.ssf/2013/09/floyd_mayweather_dominates_sau.html

Floyd “Money” Mayweather continued his dominance of the boxing world as he defeated Mexican Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez on points in Las Vegas last night/early this morning. I have to admit I didn’t have the dedication to make it to the bell at 4am UK time so can’t really comment on the fight itself but by all accounts Mayweather had it under control. This image certainly suggest Alvarez was dazed enough to take a swing at the referee. Mayweather’s  unbeaten record now stretches to 45 fights and having pocketed $45million for last night’s bout alone its not a bad way to make a living.

Image
http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/ukraine-v-england-picture-special-2265683

The grimace on James Milner’s face epitomises England’s performance away at Ukraine this week and was most likely replicated by most England fans during the 0-0 bore draw. Highlights included the full time whistle and managing to change the channel just in time to avoid having to listen to Adrian Chiles fumble his way through some analysis. To be fair an away point keeps England at the top of the group and just two home victories away from sealing their place in next year’s world cup but it wasn’t exactly pretty.

Luca De Pra
http://news.sky.com/story/1141694/genoa-coach-caught-spying-on-rivals-sampdoria

Great work in Serie A this week. Caught deep behind enemy lines Genoa coach Luca De Pra was discovered in full commando gear in the hills above local rivals Sampdoria’s training ground. Attempting to get some info ahead of the derby game this weekend De Pra was seen hiding in the bushes along with another colleague who managed to escape. Fortunately for De Pra Sampdoria saw the funny side and their website confirmed that after being caught “the opposing side’s soldier was let free to return to base”. Good effort but needs to learn from Mourinho’s laundry basket espionage techniques.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/09/rafael-nadal-us-open-novak-djokovic_n_3896779.html#slide=2892012

The usual raw emotion (and what looks like gleeful skipping) accompanied Rafael Nadal’s victory over Novak Djokovic in the 2013 US Open Final at Flushing Meadows. Both players pushed themselves to the limits with some rallies going beyond the 50 stroke mark before Nadal won out in four sets, 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1. For Nadal it is his 13th grand slam title. just four behind Federer’s record 17, and I’m sure the Spaniard hopes he can eclipse the Swiss master before his biscuit knees cave in once and for all.

Real Madrid's Gareth Bale (C) is tackled by Cristiano Ronaldo (R) as Karim Benzema (L) and Pepe look on during their training session at Valdebebas sports grounds in Madrid September 13, 2013.  REUTERS/Sergio Perez  (SPAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)
http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/soccer/photos-ronaldo-sending-message-gareth-bale-article-1.1455093

Former “most expensive player in the world” Cristiano Ronaldo welcomes new “most expensive player in the world” Gareth Bale to Real Madrid with a friendly two footed lunge in training. And by the grin on defender/professional arse Pepe’s face it seems like it was perfectly executed. Bale survived the session to make his début in last night’s 2-2 draw against Valencia and managed to get himself on the score sheet in the process; a move that angered Ronaldo so much that he immediately signed a new contract today reinstating him as the club’s highest paid player just to keep Bale in his place.

Sporting Week in Pictures, August 22-30

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/tennis/article-2402275/US-OPEN-2013-Dan-Evans-beats-Kei-Nishikori.html

Dan Evans became the most talked about British tennis player for a few hours at least as he defeated Japanese number 11 seed Kei Nishikori in the first round of the US Open.  For a man who in April admitted “I am obviously pretty bad at my job” after struggling to keep to the regimented schedule of professional tennis it wasn’t a bad few hours work.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-08-29/celtic-joins-big-guns-in-group-stage/4920500

Jamie Forrest scores a 92nd minute winner for Celtic against Shakhter Karagandy to secure Neil Lennon’s side a place in the Champions league group stages having started the game with a 0-2 deficit after the first leg. If only Karagandy had been able to sacrifice a lamb before the match as they usually do maybe the result would have been different?

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/news/newsid=1986806.html#barcelona+milan+ajax+celtic+drawn+together

All Celtic’s hard work means glamour ties against Barcelona, AC Milan, and Ajax rather than the masterfully dull and money-sapping Europa League. All in all Man Utd and Chelsea have the easier of the draw while Arsenal will have to work hard to qualify from a group containing last years runners up Dortmund. Bayern v City also looks interesting.

Umpires Aleem Dar and Kumar Dharmasena assess the light meter
http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cricket/23

These guys make it too easy…

The finale of the ashes came around in typically exhilarating fashion on Sunday as, with England needing just 21 runs with just 24 balls remaining, those in charge saw fit to end the days play, and thus the series, due to bad light. I’m not sure if you can make them out through the darkness but the picture shows the umpires and Michael Clarke either searching for mobile phone signal or using one of the many technological advances offered in cricket, “light checker-out-erer” I think its called.

Final results: England 3, Australia 0, Weather 2

Wigan win
http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/rugby-league/23794947

Sam Tomkins secures the 2013 Challenge cup for Wigan Warriors with a last minute try to seal a 16-0 victory. A record 19th final victory took place in near torrential rain (take note cricket) at Wembley and was the first time since Wigan beat St Helens in 1989  that a team had managed to achieve a clean sheet.

The sporting week in pictures

A look back at the sporting week as caught by the camera….

SEE STORY 20130819/LA66036-b, MM (917842) Media contact: kerri.holt@us.redbull.com /347-952-5367.
http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/high-diver-performs-75-feet-hudson-statue-liberty-background-article-1.1430983

In another impressive Red Bull stunt Colombian high diver Orlando Duque leaps from a helicopter 75ft above the Hudson river with the Statue of Liberty looking on. This time-lapse image shows some pretty decent teckers too ( when I say teckers I mean it looks cool I have no clue what makes a good 75ft dive).

Mo Farah wins the 5,000m final at World Championships to claim only the second 'double double' in history
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/athletics/10248347/Mo-Farah-wins-the-5000m-final-at-World-Championships-to-claim-only-the-second-double-double-in-history.html

Mo Farah crosses the finish line to claim gold in the 5,000m at the 2013 World Athletics Championships in Moscow and complete a truly remarkable 12 months in the process. This, his 5th major championship gold medal in a row, was the closest fought and there was no time for the “Mo bot” over the final few metres.

David Villa
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2399496/Lionel-Messi-targeted-Atletico-Madrid-players-going-injured–VIDEO.html

David Villa celebrates scoring for Atletico Madrid against his old team Barcelona in the first leg of the Spanish super cup – and what a goal it was by the way (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILNyvsfuZRs). Still not quite sure how Madrid managed to buy him for only 5 million euros (approx. 17 Bale’s in today’s money) with the likes of Arsenal supposedly after him… ah ok now it makes sense.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/23644662

David Moyes celebrates his first victory as Man Utd manager. A 4-1 away win at Swansea is a pretty impressive result especially with everyone convinced that now Fergie has gone Man Utd players will suddenly forgot how to kick a ball. Still third favourites for the title they are worth a cheeky tenner.

cricket: 5th ashes test day two
http://www.theguardian.com/sport/gallery/2013/aug/22/ashes-england-australia-fifth-test-pictures

The second day of the final ashes test gets of to a flyer. People keep trying to tell me that Cricket is interesting and the Ashes is an amazing spectacle but any sport where rain can get you more wins than one of the “athletes” ( I use this term loosely) taking part immediately forfeits its credibility. And don’t even get me started on players signing autographs during play or having sandwiches half way through.

THE ONES THAT GOT AWAY XI

The ones that got Away XI

Whether it be Hoddle and Waddle (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WACF8ID-To), Keegan’s “Head over heels in love” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MnMskejuvc), Andy Andrew Cole’s 00’s R&B anthem (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9UHcRrCWlI), or Vinnie Jones hard man acting career (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gk17yncyzOg) we all know about those footballers who have ventured beyond the safety of the hallowed turf in search of fame and adulation in other spheres.

But what about the other side of the coin? Here is a look at some of those who got away; tempted by the bright lights of celebrity fame or other sporting pastures, these individuals either turned down a career in professional football or fell at the final hurdle.

GK – JULIO INGLESIAS

–          Just look at him. The man contains enough swagger and confidence to control even the most unruly of defences. He has sold over 300 million records worldwide and released 80 albums yet it could all have been very different had he not suffered a serious car accident in 1963 which curtailed a promising goalkeeping career. While completing a law degree in Madrid, Iglesias occasionally turned out for Los Blancos feeder side Real Madrid Castilla and at 6ft 1 is a commanding presence in net.

Most likely to: Woo an opposition player’s better half.

RB – MICHAEL SHEEN

–          The actor who, in recent times, has seemingly gone on a one man rampage to portray any famous British figure worth his salt in recent history was invited to enter Arsenal’s youth team at the age of 12 but his family refused to move from their native Wales. The man who has played Frost, Blair, and Kenneth Williams could give a fairly stirring half time team talk if he donned his Brian Clough persona too.

Most likely to: have identity issues on the pitch.

CB- GORDON RAMSAY

–          Whilst Ramsay’s himself may have embellished his glittering Rangers career ever so slightly it still stands that the foul-mouthed celebrity chef did at least have trials with the Glasgow giants. A shoe in for the centre back role due in large part to his ability with words rather than his feet a back injury ensured channel four’s evening schedule was safe for years to come.

Most likely to: Get sent off for foul and abusive language.

CB- MATT SMITH

–         Complimenting the physicality of Ramsay is Doctor Who star Smith as we search for the classic defensive partnership of strength and vision. Smith played youth football for Northampton Town, Nottingham Forest, and Leicester City alongside the likes of Michael Dawson and Jermaine Jenas and it was only after a recurring case of spondylosis that he turned to acting.

Most likely to: Metamorphose half way through the second half.

LB-  STEVE HARRIS

–          Iron maiden founding member and self confessed West Ham nut, slotting in at left back Steve Harris could have rivalled Stuart Pearce both in his position and music tastes. A trialist for his beloved club as a youngster Harris chose long haired rock and roll over the tightly nit perm fashionable with players at the time. Any man with a full sized football pitch in his back garden deserves a place in the starting line up.

Most likely to: compose a team anthem.

RW – GREG RUTHERFORD

–          We all witnessed the pace of Rutherford as he galloped down the Olympic stadium long jump track to Gold medal fame last year and Rutherford could have been putting that pace to use on the touchlines of Premier league grounds having had trials with Aston Villa before turning his focus to athletics.  Has football in his veins with his great grandfather Jock Rutherford having won 11 England caps in years gone by.

Most likely to: Win a penalty with a controversial foul just outside the  centre circle penalty area.

CM – DAVID FROST (C)

–          The old head of the team, Frost has both the confidence and intelligence to play that creative midfielder role. Before going on to become one of the most well-respected journalists in the country Frost turned down a professional contract with Nottingham Forest choosing instead to head to Cambridge University and subsequent stardom. Not sure many footballers have those options when signing pro contracts these days.

Most likely to: be sent out for the post-match interview.

CM – IAN BOTHAM

–          Perhaps the individual with the most footballing pedigree, Botham combined his England test career with the odd game for Scunthorpe United and Yeovil Town in the mid-eighties amassing 11 games in the football league. The “commeth-the-hour commeth-the-man” role perfected as England captain could come in useful if in search of an injury time winner.

Most likely to: be seen on next week’s “showboat” section of Soccer AM.

LW – JOHNNY MARR

–          Marr himself jokes he could have signed for Man City if they hadn’t been put off by his eyeliner. The foil to Morrisey in ‘The Smiths’ for a number of years Marr had trials for City and Forest (yet again!) before choosing to enter the world of 1980’s music. Would ghost down that left wing with a reserved confidence.

Most likely to: have his hairstyle copied by Leighton Baines.

CF – DARREN CAMPBELL

–          Even if his first touch sends the ball 40 metres down field I wouldn’t bet against this man catching it. The former GB sprinter actually postponed his athletics career in 1995 at the age of 21 in pursuit of professional football. Subsequent trials followed at Plymouth Argyle, Newport County and Weymouth respectively, but a return to the track was imminent and the rest as they say is Olympic history. Now works for Cardiff City as sprint coach making the most qualified for the position of player-manager.

Most likely to: beat the offside trap.

CF –  USAIN BOLT

–          Creating perhaps the fastest front two in footballing history the six time Olympic gold medallist could have taken his pick of the sports as a youngster. Although never officially given the opportunity by a professional club he spent hours playing football in the streets before the sprint mad nation saw his potential. Rumoured to be making an appearance in Rio Ferdinand’s upcoming testimonial and with his height he would be a handful.

Most likely to: inspire a celebration copied across the nation on a Sunday morning.

julio 1

sheen 2         ed_imgramsayramsay3_198409a           matt smith           harris 3

rutherford                frost (c) (c)         botham           marr

campbell                Bolt