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Club heroes who have gone on to break their fans hearts…

With all the focus on Stevie G’s announcement earlier this week, we take a look at other players idolised by their fans who have crushed that almost perfect relationship with the club…

2015 Gerrard Announces the end of his Liverpool Love Affair (for now anyway)-

Just into the New Year and the Ex- England skipper announces that we will no longer be playing for his hometown club after the end of the season. As the news broke, you could here a Scouse whine across the country. Many pundits and Ex- Pro’s of the footballing world describe Gerrard as a true Liverpool and England great, one who is very rare in this day and age with all the money and fame. Gerrard may well be the last of his kind- Someone who has stayed with his hometown club since being a schoolboy, rejecting offers from the world’s biggest club’s to try and conquer success with the Red’s. No matter what anyone says, Stevie G has been an asset to English football for club and country; the question is, what’s next in store?

2009 Shearer managing Newcastle to relegation-

Well, it wasn’t all his fault but with Hull travelling to Old Trafford the Geordies would have ben safe with a point- Something which a side battling to avoid relegation should expect away at Villa Park. A lacklustre display summed up by a definitive own goal by Damien Duff capped off a season in which four managers tried and failed to revive the North East giants. On a day when all three of the North East clubs could’ve gone down, Sunderland were the ones having the last laugh. Their fans were seen in complete jubilation as the scores came in and Middlesbrough and Newcastle were in the English second tier for the first time since 1998 and 1993 respectively.

In Shearer’s playing career for Newcastle he was unstoppable, netting 148 times in 303 games for the Magpies and becoming the Premier League’s all time top scorer with 260 goals. Although Shearer was only Manager for four games, Newcastle were without a win and scored just one goal.

2014 Lampard coming off the bench to score vs his beloved Chelsea-

Upon Lampard’s arrival for the game against his previous employer, Chelsea fans were cheering and singing his name and when he made his appearance off the bench there was a huge applause from the away end. Chelsea were 1-0 up after a goal from Schurrle and Zabaleta had just been sent off so it was turning out quite an away day for the fans. However, in the 85th minute Lamps scored with a typical good finish from a James milner pass, although he refused to celebrate after. This marked the revival for City, who were 5 points behind at the time.

Lamps is Chelsea’s all time top scorer and the 4th highest scorer in Premier League history (level with Thierry Henry); Some feat considering all his goals came from midfield. With Yaya Toure off to the African Cup of Nation’s, Lampard could be key in City’s pursuing of the title and could be the man to inflict more misery on his old club as City are now on level points with the early-season front runners. The two giants clash at Stamford Bridge on the 31st January in a game that could shape the rest of the season.

2006 Ronaldo Winks to the Portugal Bench as Rooney’s Sent to the Changing Room-

Well.
This was heartache for football fans all over the country. England’s promising starlet was dismissed for a kick out at Chelsea Centre back Ricardo Carvalho right in front of the referee. As soon as the incident occurred Ronaldo and co surroundeed the Argentinian referee, urging him to take action – Rooney was sent off and with him, any hope England had in progressing to the Semi’s.

When the pair turned up back in Manchester there was rumours Ronaldo had to leave the club and that there was a feud between both players, however Rooney was quick to dismiss these and admitted that he would have done the same if it was the other way round.

In recent years both players have become legends at Old Trafford, with Ronaldo in unstoppable form from 2007-2009 before jetting off to Spain to win Spanish titles, Ballon D’ors and pretty much everything else. Rooney has since beedn handed both the United and England captaincy and is on his way to becoming the top scorer for his country on top of overtaking Ryan Giggs as the Red Devil’s all time Premier League top scorer.

Festive 5 side team

As we enter the Festive season we have come up with a 5 a side team that would pick up maximum points as games come thick and fast and the Arctic weather fills the stadiums around the country…

Keeper- Pepe Reindeer

Poor Pepe has been on Santa’s naughty list since he was in his mid 20’s. Every year he asks for the same present, but never get’s it- Some hair to go on that Christmas bauble-like head of his.
Festive Fact: He’s won 2 Euro’s and a World Cup, but he’s never won a family game of Scrabble on Christmas Day

Defence- Sleighton Baines

The left back whips in more crosses than a multi pack of hot cross buns on an average day in the Premiership.
Festive Fact: In December 2010, Baines started his own music blog on the Everton website, listing Bob Dylan, the Beatles, Pink Flloyd, the Arctic Monkeys and Paul Weller as his faves. #Indie

Defence- Two Skrtel Doves

The Slovakian is as good in defence as he is in attack and has something Terry Butcher’esque about him. He was the Premier League’s top scoring defender last season.

Festive fact- Skrtel’s Christmas list this year included an injury free Sturridge, Luis Suarez and, well… Anything to put in goal that’s not mignolet!

Midfield- Five Gold Frings

With flowing locks almost as perfect as Jesus Christ himself, the World Cup and Euro’s runner played 79 for his country, scoring 10 goals; including his screamer againt Costa Rica in the 2006 World Cup opener.
Festive Fact: Frings is, in fact, no relation to Jesus Christ, Moses, Mel Gibson or any other biblical figure.

Striker- Edin Dzekorations

The forward has won the Bosnian Footballer of the year three years in a row and holds an impressive goals ratio scoring 38 in 69 games for his country.
Festive Fact: the 6″4 giant always puts on the star at the top of the tree, and in 2012 he became the all tome top scoring Bosnian.

Manager- Joachim Snow

The World Cup winning genius has taken Germany to at least 3rd place in the last 4 major tournaments and being from Germany, he’s sure to love a Christmas market or two.

Slaphead FC- A look at the Premier Leagues best ever baldies…

We take a look at the best balding ballers that have graced the Premiership with their shiny heads. What they lacked in hair follicles, they made up for in Class…

Keeper- Bartez

The World Cup winners spell at Man united was mixed with outstanding saves and being beaten on the near post- most notably in their Champions League exit to the Galacticos with Ronaldo’s (yes, the fat one) in the 12th Minute.

After his retirement, the Frenchman took up Motorsport and is now a respected driver, coming 29th in the 2014 24 hours of Le Mans. Who’d have guessed? He’s also quite handy out on pitch with a sweet left foot, so could rotate for rush Goalie with ease.

Defence- Franck LeBouf

Lebouf was also part of France’s World Cup winning team in “98 and is a consistent penalty taker, converting 17 from 20 for Chelsea in the late 90’s- a must if there’s any possibility of spot kicks. After retirement leBouf spent time in the Glamourous LA, playing as a midfielder for tr celebrity team Hollywood United. He also appeared in the 2001 film Taking sides.

Defence- Jaap Stam

What a player this man was! His bald head made him look like a hooligan rather than a classy defender with 3 Premier League titles, a Champions League and 4 major international finals under his belt. He is still very much involved in the game as manager of Jong Ajax- Ajax reserves. Who knows, we may see the Dutchman back in the Prem in a few years in a managerial role…

Midfield Maestro- Patrick Vieira

Vieira, the complete midfielder and Arsenal legend who is now Man City Reserves Manager (Awks). From 1996- 2005 Paddy V lit up the Premiership and Captained Arsenal’s invincibles, becoming one of the most decorated midfielders in the history of the Premiership. As well as 3 Premier Leagues & 5 FA Cups, Vieira has a winners and runners up World Cup medal and a European Championship to his name. Take a bow son.

Striker/Manager- Gianluca Vialli

Vialli was a decent striker for Chelsea netting 40 goals in 83 appearances for the club, but his role as manager is where he shone for the Blues. After taking over as player manager from Ruud Gullit he guided Chelsea to the League Cup and European Cup winners Cup in his first few months. In his time at Stamford Bridge Vialli also won the European Super Cup, FA Cup and Charity Sheild, becoming the clubs most successful manager at the time.

Oh, and of course we’d need a ref… Who better than Pierre Luigi Collina, who has come to England’s rescue on more than one occasion.

5 aspects football could take from the NFL…

A sell out Wembley hosted the final match of the International NFL series on Sunday, as the Dallas Cowboys beat the Jacksonville Jaguars. There is no contest which is the most skilful, passionate and overall superior out of the beautiful game versus Americas version of Egg Chasing, however there are certain elements we could incorporate this side of the pond which would make attending football matches more of an experience for fans…

1. Cheerleaders

Here in the Premiership we have have ‘the Crystal’s’ warming up Selhurst Park on Matchdays, but apart from that we have very little female activity. The only eye candy at a football game is the Little-Moe lookalike serving up the Burgers before the game, unless your close enough to see the Wags. We need something to look forward to for all those sleazy old men and a few more cheeleaders would do the trick.

2. Wearing the team colours

Unless your between 8 and 13, if you turned up to a party with a Stoke City top you would be ripped to shreds by the cool kids in their hackett polos and you’d have to turn it around saying ‘Joking… I thought it was fancy dress.’ In America they have snapbacks, beanies, tshirts, tracksuits, actual jerseys, the lot; In fact, if you went to a party you would see at least 5 people in an out of date LeBron James Heat top and 10 in some sort of headwear. You wouldn’t exactly wear a Sunderland cap to your next party over here, would you?

3. Half time entertainment

Yeah, we get the odd ex Pro reading out a raffle ticket or an X factor winner taking a few penalties, but our half time consists of grabbing a beer and a burger in the stands. The likes of Michael Jackson and Beyonce have performed in the half time shows in the NFL. At least if you support Sunderland And your losing 4-0 at half time you have something to look forward to.

4. Things to do around the ground

Americans are over the top in most aspects of life, but they deserve credit when putting on a show. Outside Wembley there was music, dancing, and different types of NFL related games (e.g. Fastest throw) overall creating a more enjoyable and memorable experience for fans.

5. Food

Of course there was a ‘Mac n cheese’ van on Wembley way for the NFL games, only the Americans could have come up with this. It served Mac and cheese burgers, deep fried balls and the usual you would expect. The most extravagant food we get at football games is an undercooked £8 margherita!

All this may not fit in with domestic football in England, but surely would work nicely with the international friendlies and qualifiers. This would help prevent Wembley from being half empty and draw a lot better atmosphere than the usual England games.

Most Unlikely wins in Football History

There has been huge shocks in football in the last 10 years – we take a look at some of the most unlikely…

4. Porto to lift Champions League 2004

2004 was a funny old year. It saw underdogs rise to the occasion to lift the two major European trophies of the season. When the Champions League began, AS Monaco to lift the cup was 66/1 and Porto a staggering 50/1.

This Champions League was one of my most memorable, seeing the Madrid’s, United’s, Milan’s and Barcelona’s all out at relatively early stages. Monaco overcame 3/1 favourites Real Madrid and high flyers Chelsea, where as Porto saw off Man United in the quarters in a match that saw Jose’s famous Old Trafford sideline celebration.

Porto ended up 3-0 winners and half the team was bought by Chelsea the following season; Including Mourinho. This final had no big names, but two of the most skilful and exciting teams on the continent – and two of its best young coaches who are now dominating World football.

3. Costa Rica to win Group D at 2014 World Cup

No one expected the Costa Ricans to escape from this group, let alone win it. Three under performing World Cup Winners joined them in Group D, and it was no fluke Costa Rica qualified as they provided the more exciting and overall best football.

They reached the quarter finals of the competition for the first time in the nations history and were unlucky not to go further after holding a much fancied Holland side at bay for 2 hours, before a spirited Tim Krul came off the bench to Van Gaals rescue. They were loved by everyone in the competition and were adopted by the Brazilian fans as their second team. They were 50/1 at the start of the tournament to win Group D, and 30/1 to qualify!

2. Greece beating Portugal to win Euro 2004

Before the tournament started the Greeks had never won a single match at the final stages of an international tournament.

The squad included English based players such as Nikos Dabizas, Traianos Dellas, Stelios Giannakopoulos and Theo Zagorakis along side 15 others playing in Greek domestic football. They beat a Portugal team boasting a young Cristiano Ronaldo 1-0 in the final on Portuguese soil, with odds of the Greeks winning the competition at a whopping 150/1.

1. Bradford vs Swansea in Capital One Cup Final 2013

Swansea started the tournament at 66/1 and Bradford 1,000/1! Recent seasons have seen many lower league teams come from nowhere to the last stages of the domestic cup competitions.

Bradford saw off Premier League clubs Wigan Athletic, Arsenal & Aston Villa before losing to the Swans in the final and in doing so, became the first club from the lowest tier of English football to reach the League Cup final since Rochdale in 1962.

This is the most unlikely of finals in the history of English football and before the competition started the odds of it happened were 10,000/1.

Boring, Boring Wembley

Yes we beat San Marino, and yes we scored 5, but is this really good enough considering we were playing quite literally the worst team in the world?

I was at Wembley for the game and the whole situation felt like something was missing. We are used to having several leaders in the team the past decade with Beckham, Owen, Terry, Ferdinand, Cole, Gerrard and the list goes on; nowadays we rely on Rooney too much for experience and to take the game by the scruff of its neck.

We need players who take risks and try something different every now and again, like Jack Wilshere, who has not been at his best in an England shirt but I’m sure he will rise to the occasion sooner rather than later.

Even the crowd was boring. The most exciting part was a half hearted attempt at a Mexican wave that shut down after 2 laps of the pitch. Maybe the FA should introduce ground sharing up and down the country for these qualifying games against minnows as they did when Wembley was being rebuilt.

Stadiums such as the Riverside stadium rose the the occasion in the past, providing a real atmosphere for the games and giving people the chance to see their country play, as not everyone gets the chance to get to the capital. England internationals should have the same feel as a Premier League match, we are meant to be a proud nation!

In a poll online Joe heart received man of the match from England fans, even though he only had one save to make the entire Match. This just highlights the fact that we were all expecting much more than a lacklustre display.

We should be going for goal scoring records against these teams, trying to outdo Germany’s 13-0 victory back in 2006. This would make a real statement going into future campaigns that we are a force to be reckoned with and prove that our Brazilian nightmare is behind us.

There were signs of promise for Hodgsons men however, with substitutes Adam Lallana and Alex Oxlade- Chamberlain staking their claim to the starting Xl against future opponents with skilful displays. The fact that Rooney is not playing his best and still grabbing goals is also a huge plus.

Maybe as a nation we are cursed; the expectation gets too much and we’re all left heartbroken. But something needs to change if we’re going to make a real challenge for the Euros.