EPL Talk Archives for January 2007

To Buy Or Not to Buy Season Tickets

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By John Nicholson

Being a season ticket holder is sometimes held as a symbol of a fans commitment to a club. When you are prepared to invest so much money, upfront, it is an act of faith in the club. It says you care.

The clubs have always been quick to tell us that they want everyone to get their season tickets as soon as the old season ends so that they have money to use in the transfer market.

Plenty of Premier League-Related News This Summer

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It over 100 degrees outside, so I had a chance today to catch up on watching preseason friendlies, and here are my thoughts in addition to some Premier League-related news:
  • Bohemians 0-1 Sunderland. Preseason friendlies are rarely exciting and aren't the best reflection on how a team will perform in the approaching season. That's the good news for Sunderland.

Interview with Phil Lines of the Premier League

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The latest episode of the EPL Talk Podcast has been published, which features an interview with Phil Lines from the Premier League.

As Head of International Broadcasting & Media Operations at the Premier League, Lines plays a pivotal role in securing the TV rights deals in 207 countries for the world's most popular sports league. During the interview, Lines discusses how Sirius Satellite is in advanced negotiations to provide the Premier League radio broadcasts for listeners in the U.

Book Review: Studs

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By Tokyo Toffeeman

Studs! (Ebury Press) is an entertaining retro footie annual using stories, interviews and pictures taken directly from Shoot! Magazine from the 60s, 70s & 80s. Britain's top footballers of the moment, often accompanied by the loving missus, are shown in all their garish glory (kind of living testament to mad and bad football haircuts) whether it be while mowing the lawn, practising their golf swings, decorating the kitchen or celebrating big wins in the communal team bath.

BBC Making Moves Before 07/08 Season Begins

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The website redesign for EPL Talk is coming along nicely and may be live as early as this weekend or, at the latest, early next week. As soon as it's unveiled, I'll let you know here. I've mentioned it before, but the EPL Talk Blog that you're reading now will be moved to a different location, so thanks in advance for your patience and changing your bookmarks.

Villa Brings Attacking Flair to Canada & Other News

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Here are more of the top soccer stories that you may find interesting (see below). I should be able to resume full blogging next week. This week, I'm tackling the finishing touches to the redesigned EPL Talk site, which I'm looking forward to introducing to you either this weekend or next week. Stay tuned.
  • Setanta Sports has announced that Jon Champion will be joining the Irish broadcasting company as one of their top football commentators.

Summer Soccer Smorgasbord

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So much soccer news, so little time. Here are some of the top stories that you may be interested in:
  • If you want to receive a beta invite to Pownce, one of the hottest new social networking web sites out there, email me at thegaffer[at]epltalk[dot]com with "Pownce" as the subject line. The first six people to contact me will receive one beta invite each.

"How Soccer Explains The World" Book Review

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By The Scout

Ever since it was first released, Franklin Foer's book "How Soccer Explains The World" has been widely talked about. With the leagues over for the summer, I was lucky enough to finally get around to cracking open a copy of the book to kick off my summer soccer reading.

The book's stated goal is to use the "metaphor of soccer" to address some of the "failures of globalization".

No Real Winners in Galaxy v Chelsea Charade

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I ask just one question. Now that David Beckham's LA Galaxy debut is over, who gained anything from it? Think about that for a second. Other than generating money, who were the winners now that the friendly is complete?

It certainly wasn't the spectators or TV viewers who were fed a very drab game of soccer. In a match that had the potential of winning new fans to the sport of soccer, the match was a miserable failure lacking the passion, technique and pace that's so synonymous with the finer aspects of the game.

Drugs, Setanta & Rock 'n' Roll

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By John Nicholson

In the UK, Setanta has started running ads for its new live Premiership coverage, clearly keen to get a whole hoard of new punters to stump up some hard earned wonga for their service. Fair enough.

However, the ads they are running have the song 'Good Times' by Eric Burdon and the Animals in. This is a big mistake.

Latest News from Everton's U.S. Tour

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Chelsea isn't the only English team touring the States this summer. In addition to Aston Villa, Everton is Stateside and the Merseyside club is already making quite a bit of news:
  • If you'd rather not watch Chelsea take on the LA Galaxy Saturday night at 8:30pm ET on ESPN, you can catch Everton on GolTV in their friendly against Real Salt Lake at the same time.

Man Utd's Asian Focus Is Bad News for U.S.

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It doesn't seem that Manchester United will be rushing back to the United States for preseason friendlies anytime soon. Man United Chief Executive David Gill is quoted in The Guardian newspaper as saying that Asia and Africa, instead of America, will be the focus to globalize their brand.

I wonder, though, if Gill would have still said the same thing if Chelsea wasn't playing their preseason friendlies in the United States.

Fox & Setanta Finalize August EPL TV Schedule

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The complete TV schedule for EPL matches during the first few weeks of the 2007/2008 season is now finalized, EPL Talk can reveal. Here's what we know so far (the newly discovered listings are highlighted in bold):

Saturday, August 11
Sunderland v Tottenham Hotspur, 7:45am ET, Setanta Sports
West Ham United v Manchester City, 10am ET, Fox Soccer Channel
Bolton Wanderers v Newcastle United, 10am ET, Setanta Sports
Aston Villa v Liverpool, 12:15pm ET, Fox Soccer Channel
Derby v Portsmouth [Tape Delay], 2:30pm ET, Fox Soccer Channel

Sunday, August 12
Chelsea v Birmingham City, 8:30am ET, Setanta Sports
Manchester United v Reading, 11am ET, Fox Soccer Channel

Tuesday, August 14
Tottenham Hotspur v Everton, 3pm ET, Setanta Sports

Wednesday, August 15
Portsmouth v Manchester United, 3pm ET, Setanta Sports

Saturday, August 18
Portsmouth v Bolton Wanderers, 7:45am ET, Setanta Sports
Tottenham Hotspur v Derby County, 10am ET, Fox Soccer Channel
Blackburn Rovers v Arsenal, 10am ET, Setanta Sports
Newcastle United v Aston Villa, 12:15pm ET, Fox Soccer Channel
Wigan Athletic v Sunderland [Tape Delay], 2:30pm ET, Fox Soccer Channel

Sunday, August 19
Manchester City v Manchester United, 8:30am ET, Setanta Sports
Liverpool v Chelsea, 11am ET, Fox Soccer Channel

Saturday, August 25
Sunderland v Liverpool, 7:45am ET, Setanta Sports
Arsenal v Manchester City, 10am ET, Fox Soccer Channel
Chelsea v Portsmouth, 10am ET, Setanta Sports
Everton v Blackburn Rovers, 12:15pm ET, Fox Soccer Channel

Sunday, August 26
Derby County v Birmingham City [Tape Delay], 1am ET, Fox Soccer Channel
Middlesbrough v Newcastle United, 8:30am ET, Setanta Sports
Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur, 11am ET, Fox Soccer Channel

Saturday, September 1
Fulham v Tottenham Hotspur, 10am ET, Fox Soccer Channel
Manchester United v Sunderland, 12:15pm ET, Fox Soccer Channel
Blackburn Rovers v Manchester City [Tape Delay], 6pm ET, Fox Soccer Channel

Now that Fox Soccer Channel has acquired the TV rights to Serie A beginning with the 07/08 season, the regular 2:30pm ET tape delayed EPL match will be shown later in the evening on Saturdays (and after midnight if Fox is showing a MLS game on Saturday night).

Bull Durham

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I'm on vacation this week in North Carolina, so the quantity of blog postings will dwindle, but I'll try and write when I get the opportunity. It's actually a great week to visit the EPL Talk Community where you can read blogs from six EPL Talk readers and participate in the message boards.

While in Durham (North Carolina) last night, I got the opportunity to watch the second half of the Copa America final.

Chelsea v Club America Friendly: Photos & More

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Courtesy of EPL Talk reader Peter Pelham, here's his account of the Chelsea 2-1 Club America friendly including images. Thanks Peter!

"A great new stadium (incidentally, demolition and rebuild done in 9 months!) on the Stanford University campus. Approx 47,000 attendance in a 55,000 capacity stadium. The Mexican fans were partying throughout the game whereas the Chelsea fans were mostly silent until near the end of the game.

Don't Believe The Hype: David Beckham

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I realize than even by writing this article, I'm contributing to the mass hysteria revolving around the David Beckham story, but I have to say a few things.

I've purposefully avoided much talk about Becks on the EPL Talk Podcast and this, the EPL Talk Blog for many reasons. Most importantly, while I realize he's a megastar and will inject much needed attention for Major League Soccer, he is still just one player, one man and the amount of attention he's currently getting is way out of proportion.

Roundup of Soccer News From Around the World

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  • If you missed the Brazil against Uruguay semi-final of Copa America last night, you could have seen a classic. The entertainment value was extremely high as both teams came so close to winning the match within regulation. Uruguay continually threatened Brazil and were unfortunate not to win the match. After ending 2-2 in regulation, the match proceeded to penalties where Brazil squeezed by with a win.

New 07/08 Portsmouth Home Shirt Revealed

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The new 07/08 Portsmouth home shirt was unveiled last night. This season, Pompey will be wearing kits from kit manufacturer Canterbury who are more synonymous with rugby than soccer.

Canterbury is to be applauded for a sleek design. The gold trim around the edge of the Pompey shirt looks impressive, and I'll be looking forward to seeing how the shirts look in person after the new season kicks off on August 11th.

Schedule for Premier League Matches on U.S. TV

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Here's the TV schedule for Premier League matches for the first four months of the 2007/2008 season for viewers in the United States. It's by no means complete (the Saturday 10am ET matches and midweek matches have to be confirmed), but here's what we know for sure so far:

Saturday, August 11
Sunderland v Tottenham Hotspur, 7:45am ET, Setanta Sports
Aston Villa v Liverpool, 12:15pm ET, Fox Soccer Channel

Sunday, August 12
Manchester United v Reading, 11am ET, Fox Soccer Channel

Saturday, August 18
Portsmouth v Bolton Wanderers, 7:45am ET, Setanta Sports
Newcastle United v Aston Villa, 12:15pm ET, Fox Soccer Channel

Sunday, August 19
Manchester City v Manchester United, 8:30am ET, Setanta Sports
Liverpool v Chelsea, 11am ET, Fox Soccer Channel

Saturday, August 25
Sunderland v Liverpool, 7:45am ET, Setanta Sports
Everton v Blackburn Rovers, 12:15pm ET, Fox Soccer Channel

Sunday, August 26
Middlesbrough v Newcastle United, 8:30am ET, Setanta Sports
Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur, 11am ET, Fox Soccer Channel

Saturday, September 1
Manchester United v Sunderland, 12:15pm ET, Fox Soccer Channel

Sunday, September 2
Arsenal v Portsmouth, 8:30am ET, Setanta Sports
Aston Villa v Chelsea, 11am ET, Fox Soccer Channel

Saturday, September 15
Portsmouth v Liverpool, 7:45am ET, Setanta Sports
Chelsea v Blackburn Rovers, 12:15pm ET, Fox Soccer Channel

Sunday, September 16
Manchester City v Aston Villa, 11am ET, Fox Soccer Channel

Monday, September 17
Derby County v Newcastle United, 3pm ET, Setanta Sports

Saturday, September 22
Fulham v Manchester City, 12:15pm ET, Fox Soccer Channel

Sunday, September 23
Manchester United v Chelsea, 11am ET, Fox Soccer Channel

Saturday, September 29
Manchester City v Newcastle, 7:45am ET, Setanta Sports
Birmingham City v Manchester United, 12:15pm ET, Fox Soccer Channel

Sunday, September 30
Everton v Middlesbrough, 11am ET, Fox Soccer Channel

Monday, October 1
Tottenham Hotspur v Aston Villa, 3pm ET, Setanta Sports

Saturday, October 6
Manchester United v Wigan Athletic, 7:45am ET, Setanta Sports

Sunday, October 7
Arsenal v Sunderland, 7am ET, Setanta Sports
Reading v Derby County, 9am ET, Setanta Sports
Fulham v Portsmouth, 11:10am ET, Fox Soccer Channel

Saturday, October 20
Everton v Liverpool, 7:45am ET, Setanta Sports
Aston Villa v Manchester United, 12:15pm ET, Fox Soccer Channel

Sunday, October 21
West Ham United v Sunderland, 11am ET, Fox Soccer Channel

Monday, October 22
Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur, 3pm ET, Setanta Sports

Saturday, October 27
Portsmouth v West Ham United, 12:15pm ET, Fox Soccer Channel

Sunday, October 28
Bolton Wanderers v Aston Villa, 8:30am ET, Setanta Sports
Liverpool v Arsenal, 11am ET, Fox Soccer Channel

Saturday, November 3
Arsenal v Manchester United, 7:45am ET, Setanta Sports
Blackburn Rovers v Liverpool, 12:15pm ET, Fox Soccer Channel

Sunday, November 4
West Ham United v Bolton Wanderers, 11am ET, Fox Soccer Channel

Monday, November 5
Manchester City v Sunderland, 3pm ET, Setanta Sports

Saturday, November 10
Sunderland v Newcastle United, 7:45am ET, Setanta Sports
Liverpool v Fulham, 12:15pm ET, Fox Soccer Channel

Sunday, November 11
Birmingham City v Aston Villa, 8am ET, Setanta Sports
Portsmouth v Manchester City, 11am ET, Fox Soccer Channel

Monday, November 12
Reading v Arsenal, 3pm ET, Setanta Sports

Saturday, November 24
Newcastle United v Liverpool, 7:45am ET, Setanta Sports
Derby County v Chelsea, 12:15pm ET, Fox Soccer Channel

Sunday, November 25
West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur, 8:30am ET, Setanta Sports
Fulham v Blackburn Rovers, 11am ET, Fox Soccer Channel

The TV listings are subject to change.

UK TV Schedule for Premier League Matches

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Here's the UK TV schedule for the first four months of the 07/08 Premier League season. For the first time, Setanta Sports will be showing the matches in the UK in addition to Sky Sports. Note that Sky hasn't determined which Sky channels their matches will be on, for now:

Saturday, August 11
Sunderland v Tottenham Hotspur, 12:45pm GMT, Sky TBC
Aston Villa v Liverpool, 5:15pm GMT, Setanta Sports

Sunday, August 12
Manchester United v Reading, 4pm GMT, Sky TBC

Tuesday, August 14
Tottenham Hotspur v Everton, 8pm GMT, Sky TBC

Wednesday, August 15
Wigan Athletic v Middlesbrough, 8pm GMT, Sky TBC

Saturday, August 18
Portsmouth v Bolton Wanderers, 12:45pm GMT, Sky TBC
Newcastle United v Aston Villa, 5:15pm GMT, Sky TBC

Sunday, August 19
Manchester City v Manchester United, 1:30pm GMT, Sky TBC
Liverpool v Chelsea, 4pm GMT, Sky TBC

Saturday, August 25
Sunderland v Liverpool, 12:45pm GMT, Sky TBC
Everton v Blackburn Rovers, 5:15pm GMT, Setanta Sports

Sunday, August 26
Middlesbrough v Newcastle United, 1:30pm GMT, Setanta Sports
Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur, 4pm GMT, Sky TBC

Saturday, September 1
Manchester United v Sunderland, 5:15pm GMT, Setanta Sports

Sunday, September 2
Arsenal v Portsmouth, 1:30pm GMT, Sky TBC
Aston Villa v Chelsea, 4pm GMT, Sky TBC

Saturday, September 15
Portsmouth v Liverpool, 12:45pm GMT, Sky TBC
Chelsea v Blackburn Rovers, 5:15pm GMT, Setanta Sports

Sunday, September 16
Manchester City v Aston Villa, 4pm GMT, Sky TBC

Monday, September 17
Derby County v Newcastle United, 8pm GMT, Setanta Sports

Saturday, September 22
Fulham v Manchester City, 5:15pm GMT, Setanta Sports

Sunday, September 23
Manchester United v Chelsea, 4pm GMT, Sky TBC

Saturday, September 29
Manchester City v Newcastle, 12:45pm GMT, Sky TBC
Birmingham City v Manchester United, 5:15pm GMT, Setanta Sports

Sunday, September 30
Everton v Middlesbrough, 4pm GMT, Sky TBC

Monday, October 1
Tottenham Hotspur v Aston Villa, 8pm GMT, Setanta Sports

Saturday, October 6
Manchester United v Wigan Athletic, 12:45pm GMT, Sky TBC

Sunday, October 7
Arsenal v Sunderland, Noon GMT, Setanta Sports
Reading v Derby County, 2pm GMT, Sky TBC
Fulham v Portsmouth, 4:10pm GMT, Sky TBC

Saturday, October 20
Everton v Liverpool, 12:45pm GMT, Sky TBC
Aston Villa v Manchester United, 5:15pm GMT, Setanta Sports

Sunday, October 21
West Ham United v Sunderland, 4pm GMT, Sky TBC

Monday, October 22
Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur, 8pm GMT, Setanta Sports

Saturday, October 27
Portsmouth v West Ham United, 5:15pm GMT, Setanta Sports

Sunday, October 28
Bolton Wanderers v Aston Villa, 1:30pm GMT, Sky TBC
Liverpool v Arsenal, 4pm GMT, Sky TBC

Saturday, November 3
Arsenal v Manchester United, 12:45pm GMT, Sky TBC
Blackburn Rovers v Liverpool, 5:15pm GMT, Setanta Sports

Sunday, November 4
West Ham United v Bolton Wanderers, 4pm GMT, Sky TBC

Monday, November 5
Manchester City v Sunderland, 8pm GMT, Setanta Sports

Saturday, November 10
Sunderland v Newcastle United, 12:45pm GMT, Sky TBC
Liverpool v Fulham, 5:15pm GMT, Setanta Sports

Sunday, November 11
Birmingham City v Aston Villa, 1pm GMT, Sky TBC
Portsmouth v Manchester City, 4pm GMT, Sky TBC

Monday, November 12
Reading v Arsenal, 8pm GMT, Setanta Sports

Saturday, November 24
Newcastle United v Liverpool, 12:45pm GMT, Sky TBC
Derby County v Chelsea, 5:15pm GMT, Setanta Sports

Sunday, November 25
West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur, 1:30pm GMT, Sky TBC
Fulham v Blackburn Rovers, 4pm GMT, Sky TBC

Blackburn Rovers will be wearing Umbro Shirts

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Blackburn Rovers has made a late decision and has decided to sign a contract with Umbro instead of Lonsdale for their 2007/2008 football kit.

The move to Umbro is unusual because Rovers fans, in the latter half of last season, voted on new designs from Lonsdale (see story here).

While Umbro has been signing contracts with a significant number of clubs this summer and is enjoying quite a resurgence, the fact is that nearly all of the designs follow the same Umbro templates.

Join The EPL Talk Fantasy Premier League

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It's that time of the year when the Fantasy Premier League is open for you to join. Unlike other fantasy football games, this one is free and EPL Talk even chips in and awards prizes to the winner like we did last season.

The best part is you can join the EPL Talk private league and compete against fellow EPL Talk readers from around the world.

New 07/08 Aston Villa Away Shirt

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During today's press conference to unveil Nigel Reo-Coker as Martin O'Neill's latest signing, the English midfielder and former West Ham United player wore what must undoubtedly be Aston Villa's new away shirt (pictured bottom right).

The blue shirt features the new Aston Villa crest with white and claret accents.

The shirt color is quite a contrast from last season's Villa shirt, which was all white with a claret and blue trim.

Premier League-Related News Pouring In

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Here are some of the interesting tidbits of Premier League-related news that you may be interested in:
  • Setanta Sports has confirmed that French World Cup Winner Emmanuel Petit has joined the Irish broadcaster as a soccer pundit. Petit joins Paul Dempsey, Pat Nolan, Les Ferdinand, Angus Young and Steve McManaman on the Setanta team for the 07/08 season.

New 07/08 Everton Third Shirt

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An image has appeared on the Internet which is reportedly a picture of Everton's third strip. The rough design of the 2007/2008 Everton third shirt is black except for the logo, which is green.
Just this past week, Everton released its new away shirt, which is white in color.

Everton's decision to adopt a black third strip is admirable.

Is Man United Touring the United States in July?

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Either the English newspapers know something we don't know or they're guilty of sloppy journalism, but the following newspaper articles in The Independent and The Guardian both state that Manchester United will be touring the United States in mid-July.

We do know that Manchester United are scheduled to play friendlies in the Far East between July 17 and the end of July.

Thank you to our sponsors

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I just want to take a pause to thank a new sponsor to EPL Talk.

It's Razorgator.com who have a great selection of those hard-to-find tickets to soccer games throughout the United States.

Razorgator.com has tickets for the upcoming friendlies in the States involving Chelsea, Celtic and many others. Go here for more information.

Thanks for supporting EPL Talk sponsors!

Aston Villa 07/08 Home Shirt Revealed

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The anticipation has been building to see what Aston Villa's new kit design will look like for the 07/08 season. And, at last, it has now been uncovered.

Aston Villa's new 07/08 home and away shirts are manufactured by Nike. The home shirt (pictured) features the famous claret and blue colors with Villa's new crest. The new Villa jersey looks modern but still retains the classic look of Villa shirts of old.

Carlos Tevez Set to Join the Old Trafford Revolution

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The English newspapers are reporting that Carlos Tevez is poised to become Manchester United's latest signing as early as next week. If the deal goes through, the implications for the Old Trafford club would be enormous.

First, United will have managed to secure the biggest transfer target of the summer in Europe away from the grasps of Real Madrid, Chelsea and Liverpool.

Happy Fourth of July!

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I'm finally catching up on some of the e-mails I've been meaning to get to, so this one is sort of timely...

Courtesy of EPL Talk reader eplnfl, here's a photo slideshow from the recent USA v Canada Gold Cup match from Soldier Field, Chicago -- including a photo of eplnfl next to the appropriately named, Dr. Scores.

The US's next match is against Colombia on Thursday night on GolTV.

New 07/08 Everton Away Shirt Revealed

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Everton has released its new away shirt for the 2007/2008 season and, for once, the design is simple, understated and classic compared with the other audacious new away shirts from Premier League clubs such as Chelsea, Reading, Spurs and Newcastle United.

Everton's away shirt, like their home kit, is manufactured by Umbro and will be launched next week on July 12.

Sheffield United Condemned to Championship Again

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With the decision by the arbitration panel today ruling against Sheffield United, the precedent has been set for clubs to be deceitful in the future regarding transfers, face the penalty of getting fined but avoid a points deduction.

If West Ham United can do it, what's stopping other teams from following suit in future seasons?

The difference between success and failure is so massive that the £5 million given to West Ham a couple of months is insignificant compared with the amount of TV money the Hammers will make in the 07/08 season.

Man United Finds Its Way On to HBO's Entourage

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Was tonight's episode of Entourage, the hippest show on HBO, the tipping point for soccer in the American mainstream?

For those of you who missed it, lead character Vincent Chase walks into Dennis Hopper's house and what is everyone watching but no less than a Manchester United against Blackburn Rovers match on TV. The scene centered around Hopper and his buddies placing a million dollar bet on the match with Blackburn winning one nil and Ruud van Nistelrooy missing a penalty for the Red Devils in the last minute.