EPL Talk Archives for January 2007

ITV And Setanta Rings Death Knell for BBC TV's Football Coverage

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The Football Association will today announce that ITV and Setanta has won the UK TV rights for four years of FA Cup and England matches for more than £400 million.

The expected announcement will deal a cruel blow to current TV rights owners Sky and BBC, especially the latter who is now left with only few leading live football matches to broadcast on television.

Analyzing The Race for the Premiership Title

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Now that the race for the Premiership title is entering its final stage of the season, how close is Manchester United to lifting the trophy and can Chelsea snatch the title before the season concludes on Sunday, May 13?

Despite the current six point gap, the key for Chelsea, no matter how simple it sounds, is that the club needs to concentrate on winning each match and hoping that Manchester United stumbles at some point.

Running Scared: England's National Team

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By John Nicholson

One of the great conundrums of football is how a team of averagely talented players can sometimes play better and beat a team of superior players.

This is often especially the case during international weeks such as the one that has just happened. As you will be aware, England haven't been playing well and the country, especially the tabloid media, is in full 'get McClaren' mode.

EPL Talk's Visit to Fulham's Craven Cottage

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Craven Cottage seems out of place in the Premiership. With grounds such as Old Trafford, the Emirates Stadium and St. James's Park being large steel monstrosities, Craven Cottage is a tiny but historic ground nestled next to the quaint Bishop's Park alongside the dark brown River Thames.

I had the pleasure of visiting the ground in late November as part of the inaugural EPL Talk tour to watch Fulham play Reading on a windy afternoon.

Arsenal v Liverpool: Live and Online

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If you're searching for a way to experience Saturday's Premiership match between Arsenal and Liverpool online, join the EPL Talk Chat hosted by bcjohn.

We'll have Arsenal, Liverpool and neutral fans from around the world chatting in real-time about the first cup final of the season. We'll also be able to tip you off regarding Arsenal vs Liverpool radio coverage and how to listen live (depending on what part of the world you live in).

Setanta and ITV Eye England & FA Cup TV Rights

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While the press and public continue to stick knives into Steve McClaren's management of the England team, off the pitch there are some big moves being made in the world of business. The focus of attention are the TV rights deals for England and FA Cup matches in the UK.

The four year contract is close to being finalized with BBC, ITV, Setanta and others involved in the mad scramble.

Premier League Partly to Blame for England's Demise

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If you're like me and when I consider the better writers from The Guardian, many of the names that first pop into my head are people such as Kevin McCarra, Paul Doyle, Barry Glendenning and Sid Lowe -- all members of the Football Weekly brat pack.

But one name that is often overlooked is one of the pearls at The Guardian, David Conn.

In another example of his excellent writing, David yesterday published a piece entitled The Premiership Feasts While England Flounder, which goes back in time to remember the reasons why the Premier League said it wanted to form as a breakaway group from the Football League.

The First Soccer Web Site I Ever Visited

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What was the first soccer web site you remember visiting?

For me, my memory is a little dusty but I do remember being in college in 1996 and my professor was raving about the Mosaic web browser in one of her classes. Around that time, I remember using a bunch of different services to access the Internet. One was Prodigy, which was partly owned by Sears.

Interview with The Football Supporters' Federation

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I had a good conversation with Steven Powell, head of development at The Football Supporters' Federation this past Friday, which has now been published on the EPL Talk Podcast for you to download and hear.

Powell discussed several interesting topics such as what the difference is between safe standing and terraces -- and how the Germans have shown the benefits of the safe standing option.

Sheffield United's 2007/2008 Kit: Home and Away

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I reported a few weeks ago that Sheffield United had given their supporters a chance to vote on their home and away shirts for the 2007/2008 season, which will hopefully see the Blades still in the Premiership.

Well, the final results are in and here's what you can see Sheffield United wearing next season:

Home:



Away:



While the home shirt looks top class, the away kit is going to take some time getting used to it.

Whatever Happened to Kevin Keegan?

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For those of you wondering whatever happened to Kevin Keegan, read this article from The Independent which reveals Mighty Mouse's latest adventure.

It's a pretty frank discussion with the former Manchester City boss. No matter how bad things were at the City of Manchester with Keegan in charge, I wonder who City fans would pick if they had a choice between Keegan and Stuart Pearce?

Fox Soccer Channel Wants Ant & Dec To Host Show

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In today's Sunday Express newspaper from England, it's reported that Fox Soccer Channel is in talks with British entertainers Ant & Dec about co-hosting a once or twice weekly show.

Ant & Dec, who are very popular in the UK after hosting a string of children's TV shows as well as the big hit "I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here," would host a show on Fox to coincide with the arrival of Beckham at the LA Galaxy, the newspaper reports.

Results from the EPL Talk Blog Survey

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Thanks everyone for your patience in taking these surveys and/or reading the results. While they're not soccer news-related, they are extremely beneficial to EPL Talk as we aim to continue to improve and to better understand the types of content you're interested in reading.

So, here are the results:


Impressively 92% of you rate the EPL Talk Blog as above average and/or excellent, which is excellent praise indeed.

Premier League's Marketing Needs To Improve

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A couple of weeks ago in the EPL Talk Email Newsletter, I wrote about how advanced the Bundesliga was in comparison to the FA Premier League when it comes to marketing itself.

The Bundesliga web site is far superior to the Premiership one. The German league handles all of the TV broadcasts for all of the Bundesliga matches to maintain consistency and a high standard, and the German league announced a deal with Major League Soccer recently to share best practices.

ITVN & Setanta Sports: Reader Feedback

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I want to share a letter I received from one of the EPL Talk readers regarding Setanta Sports and its availability via ITVN. Thanks to Dave Morris for writing in.

Gaffer,

I'm not fully informed on the relationship between FSC and Setanta, but my observation is: what a great value ITVN/Setanta is. In previous seasons, regular EPL Man Utd games would sometimes be on PPV - not "free" on FSC.

Frank Lampard, Hooligans and a Muffin

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By John Nicholson

Ask most American's what Britain is famous for and you'll invariably get the same answers. Bad teeth, The Beatles, The Queen, Benny Hill and Are You Being Served and the muffin – which is a bizarre sexual practise we are all obliged by law to indulge in on the Isles. Honest.

Aside from those, a lot of people know us for our football hooligans.

GolTV's "American Soccer" Jumps The Shark

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EPL reader Ossie's Dream was kind enough to provide us a mini-review of Fox Soccer Channel recently, where he shared his disdain about Fox's over-the-top way that it incorporated an Adidas advertisement/sponsorship into last week's Super Saturday +. I, too, was critical of Fox Soccer Channel's attempts to find new ways to attract the attention of viewers with new techniques used in their crawl advertising during Premiership matches.

Arsenal White Away Shirt, 2007/2008

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Arsenal is rumored to be playing in a white away jersey for the 2007/2008 season. For the Gunners, it'll be quite a departure from their usual smorgasbord of away colors.

Pictured right is reportedly one of the concepts that Arsenal is considering. There's no guarantee that Arsenal will select this design as their new away shirt, but it does raise an interesting point: If Arsenal does select a white shirt, what will Gunners fans think about wearing the same color as their arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur?

Liverpool's New 2007/2008 Away Shirts

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Back on February 15th, EPL Talk revealed that Liverpool would be unveiling new away shirts this season from Adidas. While the club hasn't officially shown what the new shirts will look like, EPL Talk has discovered the following picture courtesy of the Colours of Football web site.

The image shows what looks like the initial designs of the away and Champions League shirts for next season.

Random News From the World of English Football

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  • The first match that will open the new Wembley Stadium will be televised live for viewers of Fox Soccer Channel this Saturday when England's under-21 side faces the Italy under-21 team. The new 90,000 stadium (discussed in more detail on the EPL Talk Podcast interview with Simon Inglis back in September) will be limited to a capacity of 60,000 for safety reasons.

Best Soccer Podcasts Cry for Return of Glendenning and Balague

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The growing number of soccer podcasts is beginning to take its toll on listeners worldwide. Many of us, myself included, are starting to get burnt out by hearing too many soccer podcasts each week. But now with new shows cropping up and more to choose from, soccer fans are beginning to scale back, make tough decisions and subscribe to the ones that matter most.

New Newcastle United 2007/2008 Shirt

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Newcastle United may not be masters of football on the pitch this season, but Adidas and their marketing team definitely know how to sell football shirts.

In a unique idea, Newcastle will be unveiling their 2007-2008 home kit this week on their web site. Each day, they'll reveal a little more of the image of Michael Owen so that by Friday, you'll be able to see the entire image.

Famous Musicians Who Are Mad Soccer Fans

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This week's episode of the EPL Talk Podcast features a special segment on famous musicians and the teams they support. Here are the starting eleven plus a very large and growing substitute's bench:
  1. Julio Iglesias (Real Madrid). Did you know the famous Spanish singer was once the goalkeeper for Real Madrid's junior squad?

EPL Clubs to Adopt Goalline Technology for 2008-09

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According to The Observer newspaper, the Premier League plans to use its innovative goalline technology to settle disputes over whether balls have crossed the line from the 2008-09 season.
It's about bloody time!

Interview with Ian Bishop

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The latest episode of the EPL Talk Podcast was just published featuring a candid interview with Ian Bishop, formerly of Manchester City, West Ham United, Miami Fusion and several other clubs.

Bishop, who is perhaps most famous for his goal in the famous 5-1 win by Manchester City over cross-town rivals Manchester United in 1989 (see clip here), discusses several revealing topics during the interview such as:

> His experiences playing with the England B squad, and why he wasn't selected for another match,

> How he's coaching the youth of South Florida and still learning a lot about the game,

> And his thoughts on West Ham and Man City's perilous position right now in the relegation zone.

Win a World Soccer Shop T-Shirt from EPL Talk

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You can't improve what you don't measure, which is why we want to hear from you how EPL Talk can improve this blog. Just complete the following survey, which will take 2-3 minutes and we'll then pick out one lucky person to win a World Soccer Shop T-shirt. The winner will be announced on the March 25th podcast.

Thanks in advance for sharing your valuable feedback!

Results from EPL Talk Chat Survey

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The results are in from the EPL Talk Chat survey, where we asked your opinions about the online chat and what we can do to improve. Thanks to everyone who participated. The lucky winner of the World Soccer Shop T-shirt is Trip Burnam from Dallas, Texas.

So, here are what the results of the survey told us:


Ninety-one percent of you feel that the EPL Talk Chat is above average-to-excellent, which is exceedinly good news.

Random Thoughts Watching the EPL On U.S. TV

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1. Does anyone watch Super Saturday+ anymore? Nothing against Nick Webster and Keith Costigan, but after watching 10 hours of Premiership soccer on a Saturday (from the early game on Setanta all the way through to the end of the tape-delayed match at 5:15pm on Fox), can anyone stomach any more soccer coverage? I still think the concept of Super Saturday+ is good except that the time the show is played is wrong, and the format of the program could be improved to make more of a must-see program.

Everton v Arsenal: Live and Online

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If you're searching for a way to experience Sunday's Premier League match between Everton v Arsenal online, join the EPL Talk Chat hosted by bcjohn.

We'll have Everton, Arsenal and neutral fans from around the world chatting in real-time about the crucial match. We'll also be able to tip you off regarding Everton v Arsenal radio coverage and how to listen live (depending on what part of the world you live in).

Subscribe to the Soccer Shout Podcast

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In case you missed it earlier this week, I was the guest co-host on the Soccer Shout Podcast alongside Phil McThomas. You can listen to the March 13th episode via SoccerShout.com or from the 'About Us' page at EPL Talk under the 'In The Media' section.

One of the topics of discussion was the arrest of 34 fans after last Sunday's Chelsea vs Spurs FA Cup quarter-final match.

Aston Villa v Liverpool: Live and Online

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If you're searching for a way to experience Sunday's Premier League match between Aston Villa v Liverpool online, join the EPL Talk Chat hosted by bcjohn.

We'll have Villa, Liverpool and neutral fans from around the world chatting in real-time about the crucial match. We'll also be able to tip you off regarding Villa v Liverpool radio coverage and how to listen live (depending on what part of the world you live in).

Football League: Just Say No to Penalty Shoot-Outs

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By John Nicholson

Last night news broke that the Football League board is considering a proposal to outlaw drawn games, enforcing a penalty shoot-out to decide every game instead. Whoo hoo! Nurse, get the screens please! The lunatics are taking over the asylum again.

I'm not sure who actually sits on the Football League board but they must be smoking some strong medicine.

Chelsea v Sheffield United: Live and Online

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If you're searching for a way to experience Saturday's Premier League match between Chelsea vs Sheffield United online, join the EPL Talk Chat hosted by bcjohn.

We'll have Sheffield United, Chelsea and neutral fans from around the world chatting in real-time about the crucial match. We'll also be able to tip you off regarding Chelsea vs Sheff Utd radio coverage and how to listen live (depending on what part of the world you live in).

Dickov's Return Will Bolster Manchester City

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I had the good fortune of a candid interview yesterday with Manchester City legend Ian Bishop (most famous for his goal in Man City's 5-1 victory over Man United in 1989).

One of the topics we discussed was Man City's current predicament. Bishop believes that the side is missing an enforcer in the side right now, someone who can take charge, ruffle the other team's feathers and give 100% of their grit and determination.

Man United v Bolton: Live and Online

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If you're searching for a way to experience Sunday's Premiership match between Manchester United v Bolton online, join the EPL Talk Chat hosted by bcjohn.

We'll have United, Bolton and neutral fans from around the world chatting in real-time about the crucial match for the Red Devils.

We'll also be able to tip you off regarding Man United v Bolton radio coverage and how to listen live (depending on what part of the world you live in).

Latest Developments from Setanta Sports, GolTV and Fox Soccer Channel

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I just returned last night from SPORTELAmerica, one of the top events for sports TV broadcasters. It's important to us, the viewers, because this is the type of event where much of the wheeling and dealing is done that ultimately decides what TV rights deals will go to which companies.

In the next few days, I'll post more details about what I thought of the event.

Interview with Andy Sloan, "23 Sweet FA's" Author

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Episode 56 of the EPL Talk Podcast has just been released and features an interview with Andy Sloan, the author of the recently released book entitled "23 Sweet FA's," which tells the story of how Andy and his mates travelled from England to Japan along with a foosball table.

It's a one-of-a-kind story, and definitely worth hearing. Download it today.

Premiership Clubs Avoid Each Other in Champions League Quarter-Finals

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The draw for the quarter-finals of the Champions League has been announced, and the likelihood of an English team being in the final looks extremely good.

In the most attractive ties of the round, Roma will play Manchester United and Chelsea will play Valencia. In the other matches, Liverpool will play PSV Eindhoven (in a repeat of the earlier group stage), and AC Milan will pay Bayern Munich.

Beckham Debut Set for LA Galaxy v Chelsea

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The LA Galaxy is today expected announce the worst kept secret in soccer -- that they'll play Chelsea in a friendly on July 21st (reported by EPL Talk on February 13th) as part of a four-team tournament. The other participating clubs are UANL Tigres (Mexico) and Suwon Samsung Bluewings (Korea).

The LA Galaxy v Chelsea match is expected to feature the debut of David Beckham.

Chelsea v Spurs Live and Online: FA Cup

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If you're searching for a way to experience Sunday's FA Cup quarter-final between Chelsea vs Tottenham Hotspur online, join the EPL Talk Chat hosted by bcjohn.

We'll have Spurs, Chelsea and neutral fans from around the world chatting in real-time about the crucial quarter-final (and derby). We'll also be able to tip you off regarding Chelsea vs Spurs radio coverage and how to listen live (depending on what part of the world you live in).

EPL Fans May Lose Saturday Afternoon Match

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Fox Soccer Channel's acquisition of the TV rights to Serie A starting in August may mean the end of the tape-delayed 2:15pm ET Saturday EPL match on Fox Soccer Channel.

According to Fox Soccer Channel Executive Vice President David Sternberg, he's quoted in USA Today saying that the network may use the 2:30-4:30pm ET Saturday timeslot for Serie A matches.

RTE Analysts Dunphy & Brady Criticize Liverpool

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Irish channel RTE's football analysts are legendary: Former Arsenal player Liam Brady, Leeds legend Johnny Giles, and author and former footballer Eamon Dunphy. Put them all together and you have one of the best football shows on television. Why? Because they tell you how they really feel about topics.

For a glimpse of how they work together, you have to view this video (uncovered at the excellent 101greatgoals site) where they dissect Liverpool's performance this week against Barcelona in the Champions League.

Best Chance Ever for an English Club to Win Champions League

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We were treated to another fabulous week of Champions League matches this week. And out of all of the European club teams that qualified for the quarter-finals, guess which country has the most representation in the next round?
  • England: 3 teams (Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United)
  • Italy: 2 teams (AC Milan and Roma)
  • Germany: 1 team (Bayern Munich)
  • Netherlands: 1 team (PSV Eindhoven), and
  • Spain: 1 team (Valencia).

U.S. Reaping Benefits of Exodus to Premiership

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By John Nicholson

When the obituaries are written about the 2006/07 Premiership, aside from containing lots of jokes about West Ham United, they should reflect that this was the season when American footballers started to become regular, valuable and respected members of top flight squads.

It's a quiet revolution, which is all the more ironic when you consider the fuss made over David Beckham's move to LA Galaxy.

Fox Soccer Channel Acquires Serie A TV Rights

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Fox Soccer Channel has achieved quite a coup by acquiring the exclusive TV rights to Serie A for the 2007-2008 through the 2009-2010 seasons right from under the noses of GolTV, who are in the midst of a takeover from SPC Worldwide.

Previously, GolTV held the TV rights in the US to the Italian league while Fox Soccer Channel only had the TV rights to home matches involving Catania, Lazio, Cagliari and Torino.

Interview with Jay DeMerit

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The career thus far of Jay DeMerit, the American central defender who plays for Watford, is a remarkable story of determination. Many players would have given up after not being picked to play for a Major League Soccer team. Not DeMerit, though, who traveled to Europe in search of a professional soccer contract.

Learn more about DeMerit's remarkable story in this week's episode of the EPL Talk Podcast where he discusses what the mood is in the Watford squad, which American players in the Premiership he considers his friends, whether playing in England instead of the MLS hampers his chance of playing for the U.

Chelsea Rides Luck With 2-1 Win Against Porto

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It wasn't pretty. It wasn't easy, but Chelsea has made their way through to the quarter-final stages of the Champions League after coming from behind to defeat Porto 2-1 at Stamford Bridge.

However, this didn't look like a match that Chelsea would win. The Blues sorely missed John Terry especially when Porto easily broke down Chelsea's defence and scored the opener.

Liverpool Dreams of Greece After Defeating Barcelona

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In a match that was similar in many ways to the 1-0 loss to Manchester United at Anfield this past Saturday, Liverpool stormed through to the quarter-final stages of the Champions League tonight after going through on the away goals rule (2-2 on aggregate).

Liverpool controlled much of the game, especially in the first half, and were unlucky not to be ahead after hitting the crossbar twice and Barcelona clearing the ball off the line.

Sports Media Company To Buy GolTV For $200M

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SCP Worldwide, a company owned by MLS team Real Salt Lake, has agreed in principle to buy GolTV for $200 million according to the Sports Business Journal.

The deal hasn't been approved yet as executives within some of Major League Soccer's broadcasters may complain because they find it inappropriate for MLS owner Dave Checketts to buy a network that competes against MLS media partners.

Sheffield United's Official 2007/2008 Shirts

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Sheffield United has a unique idea. The Yorkshire club is asking fans to vote on what their official away shirt should be next season. So far, the lime green one (pictured right) has received the largest amount of votes. I'm not sure if that's because Sheffield Wednesday fans want to laugh at their cross-town rivals, or whether Sheffield United fans really do prefer fluorescent colors.

Reflections On Classic West Ham v Spurs Match

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What more can be said about the West Ham against Spurs match that hasn't already been said or written? Here are a few of my reflections about the match:
  • Martin Tyler may have the most recognizable voice of Premiership commentators, but I thought the duo of Alan Parry and Robbie Earle were riveting to listen to in this London derby. This was the type of match that is a commentator's wet dream, but Parry and Earle added to the spectacle with their sharp insight.

Kop Shop USA Debuts for Liverpool Fans Stateside

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The Champions Soccer Radio Network is continuing to grow. In addition to The 2 G's, The Arsenal Hour and Divers and Cheats, the latest show is Kop Shop USA, which is a one hour program focused on Liverpool FC.

Hosted by Fox Soccer Channel's Nick Webster and Keith Costigan, the debut episode was released a couple of weeks ago and featured an exclusive interview with Liverpool legend (and now Sky Sports analyst) Phil Thompson.

New Web Sites Launched for Fans of Champions League, La Liga and the Championship

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It's been more than a year since the EPL Talk web site launched, and we have plenty more exciting plans in the future for that site. But we have now launched three new sites that will interest many of you, and many more new readers out there.

Championship Talk: If you listened to the EPL Talk Podcast interview with Jeff Winter, you would have heard the news about a new podcast coming this summer.

Take the EPL Talk Chat Survey

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You're invited to take a brief survey on how the EPL Talk Chat is performing and whether it meets your level of satisfaction. The survey will take just 2-3 minutes of your time, and will go a long way to helping us improve the level of service for you, the die-hard Premiership fan.

Please take the survey today.

The saying goes, "you can't improve what you don't measure," which is why it's vital to get your feedback.

Champions League U.S. TV Scheduled Released

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This morning, the Soccer Mad In America blog announced the Champions League TV Schedule for next week's matches, and it's good news for fans of English football.

ESPN2 will be showing the Liverpool versus Barcelona and Manchester United against Lille matches. Both matches are sure to be firecrackers, although I have a feeling that the Old Trafford match will end up being a comfortable stroll for United despite a tense beginning to the match.

Arsenal's Season Comes Undone with Rovers Loss

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In the space of just one week, Arsenal's entire season has come undone. The team failed to get a valuable away goal against PSV Eindhoven last week, which may signify their Champions League demise. Last night the youngsters couldn't overcome Blackburn Rovers despite numerous chances to put the game away, and the same young side lost the Carling Cup Final -- undeservedly so -- this past Sunday.

Results from EPL Talk Email Newsletter Survey

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The results are in from the EPL Talk Email Newsletter survey, where we asked your opinions about the e-newsletter and what we can do to improve. Thanks to everyone who participated. We'll be picking one lucky survey respondent's name out of the hat and will announce the winner of a World Soccer Shop T-shirt in Friday morning's edition of the newsletter.

Liverpool v Manchester United: Live and Online

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If you're searching for a way to experience Saturday's match between Liverpool v Man United online, join the EPL Talk Chat hosted by bcjohn.

We'll have Man United, Liverpool and neutral fans from around the world chatting in real-time about one of the biggest matches of the season. We'll also be able to tip you off regarding Liverpool v Man Utd radio coverage and how to listen live (depending on what part of the world you live in).