There was a time when he was being pictured in the early hours of the morning, inhaling nitrous oxide and clumsily engineering his departure from Liverpool, that you would never have believed Raheem Sterling would be a good example for all young men - not just footballers - to follow if they are failing to realise their potential. But at the age of 22, Sterling is starting to mature into the winger we always wanted him to be and it is down to more than just manager Pep Guardiola’s influence. There is no doubt Guardiola’s tutelage has helped. There is greater awareness, more intelligence on the pitch, a deeper understanding of how the game flows, what his role in the team is and how best to utilise his talent, but Sterling has also learnt from his life experiences. Asked why he is playing with such confidence, the former Liverpool winger, in advice more of us might need to take onboard, revealed it is down to spending less time on social media. Not only is he more diligent … [Read more...] about Can Raheem Sterling really become the saviour of English football?
Most players are enjoying their summer holidays - or preparing for European finals - but for some teams this weekend sees their whole season come down to one game. Play-offs in League Two, League One and the Championship will mean heartbreak for some fans but celebrations for others if they can clinch promotion. One thing guaranteed in these games is drama and goals, but a late goal could spoil your predictions and turn the result on its head. Thepools.com have an offer which means that at least your bet won’t be spoilt by late drama - if a goal scored after the 80th minute turns your bet from a winner into a loser, you’ll get your stake refunded . Find out more about the 80+ offer here. Which Wembley regular will be celebrating? The first of this weekend’s promotion deciders is Saturday’s League Two Final, where Newport County take on Tranmere Rovers . Both teams have been regulars at Wembley in recent years so won’t be daunted by the occasion, but … [Read more...] about Betting odds and tips for this weekend’s football, including the Play-Offs, Celtic, Barcelona and Bayern Munich
“With the interim appointment of Freddie Ljungberg as Arsenal manager, the Gunners now have a former professional underwear model in charge,” begins Sam Rowe. “Are there any other managers who have once been models, past or present, excluding players modelling their team’s kit?” Let’s start by giving you a bit of context on how and why Ljungberg came to be an underpants model. If you can remember back as far as 2006, you may recall seeing pictures of Ljungberg gazing out of huge billboards in just his smalls after signing a deal with Calvin Klein. The story goes that he only landed the contract because David Beckham was reluctant to compromise his image in the UK. Initially Ljungberg had no such reservations and was paired with the Russian model Natalia Vodianova for a global campaign but he soon grew weary of seeing his own flesh everywhere. “It’s weird to see yourself on billboards and I don’t really enjoy it now,” he said … [Read more...] about Which football teams have had underwear models as managers?
“I have a question!” exclaimed Edward Brown last week. “With Norwich needing a mighty 17-goal swing to avoid relegation in their final game (and results to go their way, of course), what has been the greatest escape by a club on the last day of the season thanks to a reverse of their goal difference? Surely no team has overcome anything more than a five-goal deficit on the final day to send another team down?” Norwich, you may have noticed, did not manage a 17-goal swing or, indeed, even a victory on the final day, so the Canaries will be playing Championship football next season. When it comes to the greatest deficits overturned, however, there are several notable instances and a few astonishing non-relegation-related final day turnarounds. First though to a final-day Houdini act from the Bundesliga in 1998-99. Here’s Rob Smyth in his Joy of Six: great escapes to explain: With four games to go, a deficit of four points seemingly made Frankfurt, er, dead … [Read more...] about The greatest final-day football turnarounds
“German football magazine 11Freunde asked for ‘two further football players beside the ever-present George Best’ to find on the cover of Oasis’s Definitely Maybe. I’m only able to spot Rodney Marsh – is there another?” asks Ulrich Stolze. This is the problem with MP3s: you can’t consult them when you need to answer obscure questions for weekly internet-based football columns. We did find the front cover, but despite studying it so hard that our visual acuity went down by 22.24%, we could only find the aforementioned Best and Marsh. Thankfully, Graham Randall prefers the tangible to the digital. “On the inside cover of the vinyl version, Liam is reading a newspaper,” says Graham. “On the back page is Leicester’s Steve Walsh celebrating his winner in the 1994 play-off final against Derby.” Walsh completes an unlikely trinity. There is a photograph of Best on the windowsill and another of Marsh by the … [Read more...] about Which football players appear on the cover of Definitely Maybe?