In the first of eight group previews, I am joined by Laurence McKenna and Kartik Krishnaiyer to
â€“ with a little help of Andy Brassel, Simon Hill, and Simon Kuper â€“ look at Group E. Â The
Netherlands are the seeded nation in a group with no easy points. Â Denmark won its UEFA qualifying
In the United States, it's one of those long holiday weekends, which are a rarity. It's time to
remember the fallen heroes who have died while in military service for the United States.
It's also an opportunity to spend time with the family, have BBQ's, visit the beach and more â€”
which is why I haven't had a chance to watch the friendly this morning that involved Japan against
England and Chelsea star Frank Lampard recently stated he'd consider pulling an Eddie Murphy in
the 1988 John Landis vehicle Coming to America, and, well, head stateside and over to the
prestigious MLS in the future. The only problem with super Frank's comments were that they were
followed by the numbers 35 and 36.
My memories of how I learned about the news regarding the Hillsborough Disaster and the Bradford
Fire Disaster are a lot more vivid than what happened 25 years ago today in the Heysel Stadium
Disaster. Part of the reason was because both the Hillsborough and Valley Parade games were played
on a Saturday, while the European Cup Final of 1985 was played on a Wednesday night in
It seems every World Cup, England puts together a solid team, that somehow depends upon the
brilliance of a single man, who can take the merely good players around him, and make them into
world beaters. In years past it was Beckham, and this year it's Wayne Rooney.
Ask the common man why Rooney is so important to England, and he'll say it's because of his
goals, of course.
Sean Wheelock covers North American for the BBC and is best known for his word on the BBC's
World Football Phone-In. On today's edition of the World Cup Buzz podcast, "The Big Wheel" joins me
to focus on Group C; specifically, England and the United States.
Portsmouth is now officially the latest English club coming to North America as part of their
preseason warm-ups.Â The south-coast club finished dead last in the EPL, made history by being the
first Premier League club to go into administration and have been forced to sell what top-class
talent they had in order to stave off collapse.
World Cup years give all club managers a real dilemma. Do you try and recruit all your transfers
before the tournament or do you wait until it's over?
The fact is, every WC is the world's biggest advertising brochure for players, especially from
less high profile nations. Anyone having a good tournament will immediately be on every manager's
radar even if he's not been so before.
England will meet the US squad on June 12thÂ atÂ Rustenburg in South Africa and fans in the US
are already anticipating what will probably be one of the most watched games in the States.
Unfortunately, history is not on the US squad's side. England have appeared in thirteen tournaments
and made it to at least the quarterfinals seven times.
Two new photos have emerged of the new Manchester United home jersey for the 2010-11 season (see
The new Man United home shirt is consistent with the previously uncovered image of the jersey.
The shirt is still red with white trim and an old-fashioned collar. What is different, however, is
that we can see the detail on the back of the show where "MUFC" is sewn in under the back of the
The Guardian's Jonathan Wilson is one of the most influential soccer writers in the
English-language world, whose ability to explain the tactical side of the game has changed the way
the game is covered. On today's podcast, the author of Sunderland: A Club Transformed, Behind the
Curtain, and Inverting the Pyramid joins us to discuss two other areas of expertise â€“ Eastern
European football and African football â€“ as we continue profiling the nations competing in this
summer's World Cup.
Relegation was the least of Portsmouth's problems from the season, with the on going
off-the-pitch saga of the sheer volumes of money owed to the tax man.Â This highlights that
Football is not an exception to the global financial crises we are currently in.
Bob Bradley is a strategic thinker.Â He has to be.Â He coaches a mid-level national soccer
team whose first game is against one the top ranked teams in the world â€“ England.Â Â Bradley
knows that the US does not have enough talent to win on talent alone.Â If the Founding Fathers had
failed and America had remained an English colony, there are probably only three Americans â€“
Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey and Tim Howard â€“ who would be in contention to be among Fabio
It seems like only yesterday when Italia 1990 took place, probably the first World Cup that
could honestly begin to claim it was a global spectacle. As if by magic, the Cameroon side that
qualified for the 14th World Cup were able to explode all over the world and show people that
African international football had arrived.
As we approach the last few weeks until we enter one full blissful month of more matches, news
and analysis than we can possibly handle, here's yet another great (free) app for the iPhone, iPad
and iPod Touch that's worth checking out.
The folks at Fox have released Fox Soccer Ticket to South Africa available in
the official App store for free to keep football fans constantly in touch with all the happenings
of the World Cup.
Having forgone the prolific tendencies that earned me a shock interview on the world-renowned
EPL Talk podcast by the ace Richard Farley for a sun-kissed, eastern seaboard Atlantic Ocean
vacation, I now return like an anxiety ridden bat out of Daytona Beach, rested and tanned, but more
hyper for this tournament to start than ever before.
Looking at England's recent friendly against Mexico, one thing that is certain is the England
team lack depth. The so called fringe players were supposed to grab this chance to prove their
worth but none of them did any justification to why they are deserving of a starting spot. Without
a doubt, the first team are a strong unit and on their day, they can beat any team.
Sky Sports' Andy Gray broadcast the UEFA Champions League final on Saturday and will work with
Fox Soccer Channel this summer as a World Cup analyst. Earlier this week Andy joined me to talk
about both events, giving us an overview of which nations he sees as strongest ahead of the finals
in South Africa.
The cult hero, every club has them. They are not always the best player to turn out for your
team, indeed sometimes they can be among the worst. But they had that little something that meant
they were held in the highest regard by the fans. Sometimes there is a personal reason why a
supporter has a particular affection for a player.
Another England match, another goal for Peter Crouch. Sure, the one against Mexico yesterday was
hardly artful, in fact, it was illegal on two fronts: handball and offsides.
But to speak of that Mexican injustice misses the point. Peter Crouch somehow, someway finds the
back of the net for England at an astonishing, befuddling, flabbergasting, headscratching,
I'm proud to announce that EPL Talk has partnered with a local sports bar and restaurant to
bring World Cup viewing parties to South Florida.
Wowies Sports Grill, located in Boca Raton, will host official EPL Talk viewing parties for the
World Cup games.Â If you live in South Florida or will be in the area anytime during this summer's
World Cup, come visit Wowies and enjoy World Cup games the way they were meant to be enjoyed â€”
with friends, strangers and soccer fans who are as nuts about the sport as you are.
ESPN has revealed the commentator assignments for its coverage of the 2010 World Cup.
The big one, the match that everyone is talking about featuring England against the United
States of America, will include Martin Tyler as the lead commentator and John Harkes as the
co-commentator (June 12, 2:30pm ET, ABC).
Will it be another Spanish summer? Or is there hope for England yet?
No, I'm not talking about winning the World Cup; instead I'm talking about the glamorization of
La Liga more and more at the expense of the Premier League.
With the three biggest summer signings wrapped up or to be soon (David Villa and Cesc Fabregas
to Barcelona, Jose Mourinho to Real Madrid), the likelihood of an electrifying superstar coming
across the Channel looks increasingly remote.
Psychology is not to be underestimated when it comes to sport, especially the World Cup and
soccer. In this summer's clash of the giants between the United States and England, I believe the
game will not come down to who is the better team on the day, but will instead focus on which team
is more psychologically prepared to overcome its opponent.
A photograph has been leaked of what looks like Everton's new away football shirt for the
The photograph (please excuse the poor quality) features a picture of a pink away shirt for the
Toffees. We'll have to wait and see if the final shirt is actually pink or, due to the poor
lighting, is more of an orange color.
Grant Wahl is a senior soccer writer at Sports Illustrated and author of The Beckham Experiment.
He joins me on this edition of the World Cup Buzz podcast to talk about the three teams
representing CONCACAF: Honduras, who most will view as longshots; Mexico, who experienced a drastic
turnaround after firing Sven GÃ¶ran Eriksson; and the United States, whose expectations are
elevated after success in their last trip to South Africa.
If England could pass the ball they would be dangerous. Not for the first time under Fabio
Capello, or any other manager for that fact, England were outclassed by a so-called "lesser"
nation, only to come through with a scoreline that would suggest a comfortable victory. This was
anything but convincing and the 88,000 who were present for England's final warm up game on home
soil will have every reason for concern.
I'm ready to make a bold prediction. It's a simple one, but it has gigantic implications. It's
this: Soccer will finally break into the mainstream and will become evolve from a niche sport to a
mainstream sport in America this summer thanks to World Cup 2010.
How popular it will become is based on several variables.
Simon Hill is the lead commentator for Fox Sports Australia and, in addition to leading the
channel's A-League efforts, covers the region's international game. Simon joined me early last week
to talk about the five teams from Asian and Oceania that will be competing in South Africa:
Australia, New Zealand, North Korea, South Korea and Ja
Photographs of Birmingham City's away shirt for the 2010-11 season have been leaked on the
Designed and manufactured by Xtep, the Chinese company that has secured an exclusive five year
deal with Birmingham City, the new away shirt is white with blue trim and features a traditional
Generally, after the heights climbed of the 08-09 Premier League season, Liverpool supporters
thought that this past season would be their year. Surely a squad that would have won the title if
not for a couple of blunders against Middlesbrough and a draw with Everton, a squad that did the
double over United, including a 4-1 thrashing at the Theatre of Dreams, just needed a few small
additions, just a bit more depth, and Liverpool would be restored to the summit of English football
where they belonged.
Ever since the World Cup draw was made back in December, all eyes in the United States have been
on the first game in Group C. The match against England is widely anticipated in America, but here
it's just another group game. There's not the same level of excitement, sure England fans are
looking forward to it, but because it's the first game, not because we're playing the United
The summer's marquee event is obviously the World Cup but after the final on July 11 many of
Europe's top clubs kick off their preseasonÂ preparations. Many of these clubs, including
Manchester United, Manchester City and AC Milan, will tour North America playing preseason
Check out â€” http://www.philadelphiaunion.us/ â€” for more
Inter Milan get the win! After a ten hour delay I finally got to watch the Champions League Final.
Adding on to my problems was the fact I had to watch the game in Russian. One note, trying to put
yourself in a bubble all day to avoid hearing the results is almost impossible.
An excellent season for the men from Craven Cottage, and a huge credit must go to Roy Hodgson
who in two years has transformed his team from relegation fighters to Europa League finalists and
fully deserves his Manager of the Year.Â Has also revived the careers of Bobby Zamora and Damien
Duff who have both had stellar seasons.
Newcastle United's away shirt for the 2010-11 season has been revealed, thanks to a leaked photo
on the Internet.
The above picture shows a classy design by Puma which is blue with white trim. Designed and
manufactured by Puma, the shirt features a v-neck collar. Newcastle United will be wearing its new
away shirt in the 2010-11 Premier League season after being promoted from the Championship.
A photograph of Newcastle United's home shirt for the 2010-11 season has been leaked on the
Newly promoted Newcastle United will feature a Puma shirt next season instead of their usual
Adidas shirt. The new Newcastle United home shirt features the traditional black and white stripes
that the Toon is renowned for.
With no more English football to watch, it's off to play the transfer rumor game again. We all
know many of these transfer rumors just end up frustrating us. However, it provides a little bit of
a fix while we wait for the World Cup to begin.
Sir Alex and Manchester United have done pretty well for themselves in the transfer market over
Congratulations to Blackpool FC for winning the Championship Playoff Final today and being
promoted to the Premier League. Here are some pictures from Blackpool's day in the sunshine. More
after the jump.
Blackpool Promoted to Premier League
Blackpool v Cardiff City, Championship Playoff Final: Open Thread
Ladies and gentlemen, this is it. Although there are no English clubs in the Champions League
Final, Bayern Munich and Inter Milan are ready to fight for victory in one of the biggest club
competition finals in the sport of soccer.
While many eyes will be fixed to what happens on the field, I'll be particularly interested in
seeing how the Fox Network pulls off the first live telecast of a Champions League Final on US
Blackpool's promotion to the best league in the world today was exactly what the Premier League
needed. In a season with plenty of highs and lows on and off the pitch, it was down to feel-good
stories from Fulham, Portsmouth and Blackpool this season to end the 2009-10 football calendar on a
If you want to get Barney Ronay's thoughts on today's Champions League Final between Inter Milan
and Bayern Munich, watch this short trailer which was created and produced by the video design team
of Laurence McKenna and Max Bell.
The entire interview with Barney Ronay, which was filmed inside The Guardian's offices, will be
Today's Championship Playoff Final is often called the richest final in the sport. The winner
stands to gain around 90 million pounds, which is far more than the 36 million pound prize on offer
in this afternoon's Champions League final between Inter Milan and Bayern Munich.
Needless to say, this match is massive for both Blackpool and Cardiff City.
While the Premier League season may be over and there's three weeks to go before the World Cup
begins (yippee), there is the matter of three games this weekend. All of which are important for
Blackpool v Cardiff City, 10am ET, Saturday, Fox Soccer Plus and
One of the co-authors of Soccernomics, Simon Kuper is also an expert on Dutch soccer. On this
edition of the World Cup Buzz podcast, I talk to Simon about the romance surrounding the Oranje,
when we learned about the team from Euro 2008, and whether he feels a suspect defense and hold up
in South Africa.
I'm definitely an optimist, but having experienced a lot of ups and downs in my life, I'm also a
realist. Having said that, I have some concerns and reservations about the 2010 World Cup. And that
is that I hope the tournament goes off without a hitch.
Too many times in the past, negative incidents have soured the enjoyment of World Cup
The much anticipated World Cup TV commercial from Nike has been released. It features a cast of
soccer superstars including Wayne Rooney, Ronaldinho, Cristiano Ronaldo, Didier Drogba, Fabio
Cannavaro, Franck Ribery, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas, Theo Walcott, Patrice Evra, Gerard Pique,
Ronaldinho, Landon Donovan, Tim Howard and Thiago Silva.
The season is over (save a Champion's League final on Saturday) and the World Cup is not
starting until mid-June. If other fans are anything like me, they are looking for a fix through
whatever English football scraps they can find. Transfer rumors are these scraps. Every spare
moment I would usually spend watching a match, I scour the internet for news of a new signing or
the inevitable story that a star player is leaving a club.
The Man Who Still Holds the Key to Arsenal's Future
At first glance, this question looks bleedingly obvious. With their massive fan base, a
beautiful new 60,000 plus seat stadium, and their years of success and trophies, Arsenal should be
quite clearly considered to be a "big club.
Martin Tyler will be calling this summer's World Cup for ESPN, serving as the network's lead
commentator in South Africa. Earlier this week Martin joined me to talk about last week's FA Cup
final, Saturday's Champions League final in Madrid, the 2018 World Cup bid, but mostly, the England
ESPN's saturation of World Cup coverage into the United States has added another source.
Sirius/XM radio announced today that the sattelite radio provider will broadcast ESPN Radio's
coverage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
ESPN Radio's coverage will be spearheaded by American announcer JP Dellacamera, the primary
play-by play announcer for the USA's World CupÂ qualifyingÂ campaign.
So Saturday will see which one of two former top flight clubs return to the top level of English
football with the Championship Play-Off final. As neither have troubled the top division in quite a
long time, newer fans to Premiership football may be left scratching their heads as to who either
of these sides are.
We have a FLO TV Personal Television to give away to a lucky winner, courtesy of FLO TV and EPL
The FLO TV Personal Television is a personal hand-held TV that features tons of programming
including ESPN's mobile coverage of the 2010 World Cup, which includes a 24-hour-a-day channel
dedicated to the tournament from June 11 to July 11.
So Cesc is off then. So long and thanks for all the skill, the vision and the bushy
Is this an Arsenal crisis in the making? Wasn't Wenger building that team around Fabregas? How
can you replace a player as good as that? It takes a lot of money. But Wenger doesn't like to spend
a lot of money â€“ almost nobly so in fact.
On this episode of the World Cup Buzz Podcast, Richard Farley discusses with Tim Vickery the
South American teams who will be competing in the 2010 World Cup. Also discussed is the Albiceleste
viability of Esteban Cambiasso as well as dissecting the five South American teams who qualified
for South Africa from CONMEBOL.
The rise and rise of James Milner has been one of the great domestic stories in recent years
and, with Manchester City loitering outside Villa Park with a rumoured Â£24 million, it seems that
the Leeds-born midfielder could be set to renew acquaintances with Wayne Rooney in Manchester,
eight years after they first took the Premier League by storm.
Four years ago, West Ham's fans and players were licking their wounds after coming so close to
winning the clubs first piece of major silverware since 1980's F.A. Cup win. Cruelly denied by
Liverpool, firstly with Steven Gerrard's incredible last minute equaliser which took the game to
extra time and then penalties, it was tough to take.
If, as is his reported wish, Cesc Fabregas is sold back to Barcelona, it would without doubt be a
sad moment for the Premier League. Not only would it be a damning indictment of â€˜The Best League
In The World Ever' â„¢ that influential players from three of the traditional Big Four had gone to
Real Madrid and Barcelona in less than a year, but it would also mean the loss of a stunningly
complete, world class midfielder from the league's great aesthetes.
Here we go again. Reports are coming out of the British media that Cesc Fabregas has told his
friends that he wants to leave Arsenal and go to Barcelona. And, at the same time, Barcelona has
confirmed that they want to sign Fabregas but note that they need to discuss the matter with
With the Premier League season now done and dusted, there is no better time to look at the
winners and losers of one of the most open and un-predicable seasons in history.
Despite another trophy-less season there has been a considerable improvement with the Gunners,
showing more fight and determination despite playing a majority of the season without any central
Planning how you'll watch the 64 games of the 2010 World Cup this summer is something you should
not take lightly. The tournament is just as much of a marathon for the soccer viewer at home as it
is for those members of the world media covering the tournament for their readers and listeners
A new photograph of Manchester United's away jersey for the 2010-11 season has been leaked on
The new design, which looks much better in this picture than the close-up photo, features a
white shirt with black and red trim. Designed and manufactured by Nike, and sponsored by Aon, the
new shirt will be worn for the first time during Manchester United's summer tour of North
A new photograph of what may be Tottenham Hotspur's home jersey for the 2010-11 season has been
leaked on the Internet. Whether it's fake or not is unknown but it's very similar to the design of
the shirt which was worn in a behind-the-scenes photo shoot recently at White Hart Lane.
On Monday, it was announced that an ankle injury suffered in Saturday's FA Cup Final would keep
German national team captain Micheal Ballack out of the World Cup. Joining us to talk about that as
well the Nationalmannschaft's chances this summer is the Guardian and Sports Illustrated's Raphael
There are green shoots of recovery around the Reebok Stadium, after several winters of
discontent under Gary Megson. With Owen Coyle's arrival, suddenly Bolton Wanderers are playing
football again and trying to win games, rather than bore teams to death and hoof it skywards.
Megson's long ball banality has no place in modern football and I feel sorry for the next bunch of
fans that have to suffer the tedium of his tactical ineptitude.
You have to feel for a player of the calibre of Michael Ballack and for fans of Germany. Things
haven't always gone swimmingly for Ballack at Stamford Bridge since he joined in 2006, but there is
no doubt he is Germany's most accomplished player of his generation. Be it at Munich, Leverkusen or
the national side, Ballack has been one of the most consistent performers in the last 10 years of
The Premier League season has ended, FA Cup Final is over, Europa League has a champion, the
other big leagues of Europe have also finished. With just the Champions League final left, there is
an unpleasant empty feeling that comes from a weekend without Premier League games that I haven't
felt for 9 months (minus international breaks).
Between now and the end of July, EPL Talk will be your headquarters online for World Cup news
and coverage. We have so much planned â€” which I've teased on anÂ EPL Talk Podcast episode and in
a recent interview â€“Â so let me bring you up to speed on what we have in store for
Daily World Cup podcast
Beginning today, the World Cup Buzz Podcast will bring you daily latest news and analysis of the
2010 World Cup.
Kicking off the World Cup Buzz podcast's two months of coverage, the Talk network welcomes back
Andy Brassell, one of the media's leading experts on professional football in Western Europe. Andy
joined me late last week to talk about the nations from his coverage area who will be competing in
South Africa as well as offer a pick for this summer's finals.
During the past few weeks, over 58,000 soccer fans from around the world voted in the 2009-10
EPL Awards, a readers choice awards competition that recognizes the best in Premier League football
â€” everything from players and managers to podcasts, blogs, commentators and TV shows of the
The 2009-2010 EPL Awards have concluded. And more than 58,000 of you have voted to pick the best
EPL-related TV, radio and podcast shows. We as supporters of Premier League clubs consume massive
amounts of media â€“ whether it's matches on television, listening to radio programmes or tuning in
to our favorite English football podcasts.
More than 58,000 of you voted in the 2009-10 EPL Awards. In the category of best Premier League
blogs and websites, we recognized some of the best online content available. Important categories
such as the best EPL writer, best EPL blogger and more. The competition was fierce but the victors
have been identified.
If taken in context this title may, I confess be a little misleading due to Chelsea's recent
success in the competition. As holders there has been little FA Cup hurt experienced by Chelsea
fans in the last few years.
I am however speaking from a personal perspective, since queuing up in the early hours of the
morning as a 7 year old in 1994; I have been unable to get a ticket for a final since.
If taken in context this title may, I confess be a little misleading due to Chelsea's recent
success in the competition. As holders there has been little FA Cup hurt experienced by Chelsea
fans in the last few years.
I am however speaking from a personal perspective, since queuing up in the early hours of the
morning as a 7 year old in 1994; I have been unable to get a ticket for a final since.
Many English fans have a schizophrenic sensation going on every fourth May.Â On the one hand,
every four years English fans enthuse how this team is the "best in a generation" with all their
great players having their career peaks at just the right time.Â On the other hand, international
tournaments have brought nothing but pain to England for over 40 years, and there is always this
nagging feeling that England is just not as good as the rest of the major nations.
Predictions, right or wrong go hand in hand with the World Cup like some beautifully ironic
couple you see walking down the street. At first glance, the awkwardly short man who's pulled a
5â€²8 blond model strikes a questionable chord with your intellect.
You immediately resort to predicting and analyzing (if you're honest with yourself) how you can
land said women and how short man has figured out the secret.
You may as well kiss England's chances of winning the 2018 World Cup bid goodbye. England's 2018
World Cup bid lay in tatters this weekend after The Mail On Sunday newspaper revealed that FA Chief
Lord Triesman accused Spain and Russia of trying to bribe World Cup referees.
And today, it was announced that Triesman has quit as chairman of the 2018 World Cup bid.
Wolves last week unveiled their new home shirt for the 2010-11 season.
Designed and manufactured by Burrda, a Swiss sportswear company, the new home strip for Wolves
features their typical gold color with black trim. Judging by the above picture, the new jersey is
quite elegant and features an old-fashioned collar.
In the build-up to the FA Cup Final today between Portsmouth and Chelsea, I thought it'd be
interesting to enter the time machine and to go back to 1992 to watch the first ten minutes of the
television broadcast of Portsmouth versus Liverpool in the FA Cup Semi-Final from Arsenal's
In what is the last big match of the 2009-10 season featuring two Premier League teams, the FA
Cup Final from Wembley is always a special occasion especially today with two amazing story lines
featuring the rags of Portsmouth against the riches of Chelsea.
Can Chelsea win the double or can Portsmouth somehow find a way to beat the Premier League
As we at the EPL Talk Podcast shift into World Cup gear, it is a good time to look back at some
of the audio highlights of the season. Thanks to the efforts of Paul Scanling (who you may know as
the user Atlanta Pompey), we bring you a Best of 2009-10 episode, featuring highlights from
interviews with Martin Tyler, Robbie Earle, Rebecca Lowe, and Chuck Culpepper (amongst others).
Only 24 hours remain before the 2009-10 EPL Awards close, so there's still time to get your vote
in to choose the best of the 2009-10 Premier League season â€” everything from managers, players,
podcasts, blogs, commentators, TV shows and more. Practically every EPL-related.
There are some really tight races which will go down to the wire.
Today marks the launch of EPL Talk's World Cup 2010 Fantasy Football game which it's free to
register and you have the opportunity to win big cash prizes.
The concept is simple. Pick your best 11 from the 32 competing teams and see how they do in the
2010 World Cup. And then enter a public league so you can compete against 11 soccer fans from
around the world.
Just in time for the World Cup, Fulham manager Roy Hodgson showed England how to lose with
dignity. That's important because with history as the guide England will flatter to deceive in
making the knockout stages, only to be humiliated in a penalty kick shootout.
With the World Cup in South Africa looming and England's predictable fall into an abyss of
self-pity and wallowing in perceived injustice, I want to thank Hodgson for showing a better
The Coca-Cola Championship Playoff Final is called the richest match in football as the winner
will be promoted to the so called glory land of the EPL â€“ and with it all the riches ...
estimated at 90 million pounds sterling.
SO who are Blackpool, the team I support... because next season you could see a team you have
hardly heard of and an invasion of tangerine on your TV.
Manchester City will play Portland Timbers in a friendly in July as part of their US preseason
Starting July 13, City will begin a nine-day training camp at Nike's headquarters outside
Portland, Oregon, prior to leaving for the east coast of their US tour.
"Not only is Nike's excellence in sport, research and product development world renowned, but in
their Portland campus they have some of the finest training facilities in America," said City
manager Roberto Mancini.
Special 1 TV, the cult TV show that was a hit on Setanta Sports from December 2007 until May
2009, is making a triumphant return to the airwaves this June courtesy of BBC. The new show, still
under the "Special 1 TV" moniker, will be available on BBC 3.
The show was a bigger success in the United States than the United Kingdom.
I've grown tired of the naysayers, the detractors, the doubters and the downtrodden members of
the English media and England fans over the last few days who have blindly and prematurely
questioned Fabio Capello's initial 30 man World Cup squad.
After perusing the who's who of English media types and top journos, questionable words and
phrases like "bold move", "maverick", "alarm", "gamble" and
"compromised" are currently plastered over articles inciting fear in the hearts of England
fans and bravery in the hearts of Americans, Algerians and Slovenians.
With the FA Cup Final only days away, and every Portsmouth fan like myself trying to convince
ourselves we have a chance to defeat a club like Chelsea that's clicking on all cylinders, it
saddens me to think that we'll be going down to the Championship next season. Our time in the
top-flight has, at times, felt like being an emigrant on a passenger steamship who snuck into first
class to see how the rich lived, only to be tossed back to steerage when discovered.
When I sat down in August 2009 to predict what the final table for the 2009-10 Premier League
would look like, little did I know what a disastrous season lay ahead for Liverpool. At the time,
many pundits were predicting that Chelsea would finish in top place. And I was one of them
especially after how rejuvenated they looked on their Summer 2009 tour.
After being overlooked for so many summers, the United States will have several Premier League
clubs coming to North America in July. In addition to Manchester United confirming a tour of North
America and Tottenham Hotspur playing a couple of friendlies, Manchester City today announced
additional tour dates, while Bolton Wanderers today announced a three-game tour of North
What a season we've had. The race for the title couldn't have been more interesting. The race
for fourth place has even been better this season. In probably one of the most competitive season
in terms of the chase for the last champions' league spot, Tottenham capped a brilliant season by
finishing fourth with Man City running a close fifth.
John Terry injured his right foot in training today and has gone to the hospital for a
precautionary scan, reveals the Chelsea website. The seriousness of the injury will be known
tomorrow when results are released, but the news will be very worrying for Chelsea and England
supporters who will be hoping that Terry mends in time.
According to Fabio Capello, quoted in The Independent newspaper, Paul Scholes was **this** close
to being selected for the England World Cup squad this summer, but Scholes â€” says the England
boss â€” declined the offer because he wanted to stay with his family.
So where will Scholes be this summer with his family?
There has been a fair bit of discussion on the message boards of late regarding what makes a
true EPL supporter. There seems to exist this notion that one cannot be a true supporter of a club
if they were not born and raised in close proximity to the club's home pitch and have not at some
point in their life rolled around on the grass of said fine pitch.
Love or hate West Ham United's performances on the pitch this season, you have to admire
Gianfranco Zola. He's always been the perfect gentleman both on the pitch â€” where he graced the
Stamford Bridge pitch â€” and off the pitch, where he dealt with the pressure well at Upton
And now Tuesday, when Sky Sports reporters descended on his house to interview the Italian
legend, Zola didn't scowl at the media but instead served them coffee on a tray.
Twenty five years ago on this date, 56 people tragically died when a fire erupted at Bradford
City's Valley Parade ground.
The day was supposed to be one of celebration for Bradford who had just won the Third Division
trophy. However as the game against Lincoln progressed, a fire began just before half-time in the
stand that ran alongside the pitch.
In the days and weeks leading up to the biggest sporting tournament on the planet, the avenues
available to follow the World Cup will present themselves in an influx of technology not seen this
side of aÂ bad sci-fi film involving the world's game. Since a bad sci-fi film involving the
world's gameÂ can't possiblyÂ exist, all involved will have to put up with my sad and futileÂ
attempts to be funny and simply read my explanationÂ on what's sure to be (yet another) pretty good
Apple application for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
Gianfranco Zola was sacked as manager of West Ham United this morning. While this hardly comes
as surprising news for followers of the club and the Premier League, it's still quite a shame for a
professional who showed so much promise yet for a team that played so poorly during the 2009-10
Fulham are on the brink of history. On Wednesday, they will be playing in the Europa League
Final against Atletico Madrid. Win or lose this match, Fulham will leave some sort of historical
mark. The question is which historical direction will Fulham go?
If they win this Final, I would compare this season to the 2001 New England Patriots.
Well, not quite. They are not yet qualified to the group stage, which is what most people tend
to mean by the Champions League, but for arguments sake let's assume they are. What does it
Stoke once again have compounded the critics and not only avoided the dreadful "second season
syndrome", but actually improved their points and placing from last season. It's a fantastic
achievement for the club and its passionate and noisy fans. I have to say that as an away fan at
either the Brittania Stadium or the old Victoria Ground, listening to the Stoke fans regal you a
blast of "Delilah" is an experience you have to witness.
As everyone with more than a passing interest in the game will be aware Chelsea won the
Premiership on the 9th of May. For this reasonÂ I have decided to tell anyone who wants to listen
my match day experiences, rather than regurgitate the match reports and analysis of the mainstream
To some, there's nothing more condescending than when their team are described as plucky,
punching above there weight or a battling side. Each of the terms generally means the same thing
when used towards a football club. You've punched above your weight and sooner rather than later,
you're going to get brought down to earth.
Fulham Boss Hodgson Wants Europa League Final Postponed
With the Icelandic volancano rearing its ashy head over the weekend Eurpean air travelers are
once again experiencing serious delays and restrictions. Fulam skipper Roy Hodgson has asked UEFA
to postpone their Europa League finalÂ in Hamburg against Athletico Madrid on Wednesday unless the
Some of the words that come to mind when I view this video are stupendous, incredible and
goosebumps. It's BBC's promo video for the 2010 World Cup that it'll be airing across its
television channels to get everyone excited about the Beeb's coverage of the tournament. And, as
usual, it's incredibly well done and leaves me wanting more!
If Fabio Capello is in the mood to talk players out of international retirement as seems to be
the case with Jamie Carragher, perhaps the Italian could go around to Paul Scholes house for a
cappuccino and one of those nice little almond biscuits and make him an offer he can't refuse.
Football played second fiddle this weekend to Mother's Day and Robert Downey Jr. & Co. running
around saving the world from a Russian villain. Quite the opposite event played out across England
as another Russian, this time Roman Abramovich and not Mickey Rourke, emerged from the rubble and
ashes of 38 Premier League matches as victor.
England have always had a great tradition for goalkeepers, the likes of Gordon Banks and Peter
Shilton are legends, and David Seaman was dependable for well over a decade and kept goal for his
country in four straight major tournaments. However, in recent years, the likes of David James and
Paul Robinson have wrestled for the number one shirt with neither putting in outstanding
It gives me great pleasure to announce the launch of a brand-new eBook today entitled What The
World Cup Means To Me. The free eBook, published by EPL Talk sister site World Cup Buzz, features
stories from some of the top 21 soccer writers and personalities around the world including
Soccernomics author Simon Kuper, BBC World Football Phone-In's Tim Vickery, ESPN's Rebecca
Lowe and Tommy Smyth, GolTV's Phil Schoen and many others.
Chelsea's 8-0 victory over Wigan put an exclamation point of their title winning statement,
taking the English Premier League's championship back from Manchester United after its three year
sojourn at Old Trafford. On this edition of the EPL Talk podcast, myself, Laurance McKenna and
Kartik Krishnaiyer discuss the result a Stamford Bridge but quickly shift our focus to the broader
world of the EPL season.
Since the acrimonious departure of Chelsea's revered and beloved Jose Mourinho, who gave the
club its first taste of sustained glory, a revolving door of big-name managers have cast a dark
cloud over Stamford Bridge. This is not to say said coaches came and went without
The above photographs feature Chelsea celebrating their third league title in six years. The
Blues won in triumphant style and now look forward to this Saturday's FA Cup Final against
Portsmouth where they have the opportunity to win the double.
More pictures after the jump.
Congratulations Chelsea, 2009-10 Premier League Champions
ESPN2 TV Ratings For 2009-2010 English Premier League: Aug to Jan
At the end of Hull City's nil-nil game against Liverpool Sunday, supporters ran on to the pitch
but unfortunately there were no stewards to escort the players off the field. As a result,
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard was encircled by supporters and demonstrated his frustration by
pushing one teen away (see above video).
While the first forty-five minutes on Sunday were not kind to Manchester United in their hopes
of winning the title, one thing was completely unexpected... If you were watching the game on Fox
Soccer Plus, Manchester United's game hadn't even kicked off before Chelsea took a 1-0 lead thanks
to the strike of Anelka.
Despite their loss to Tottenham earlier in the week, Manchester City fans should still have
plenty to feel good about going into the summer. The English press was all too happy in vilifying
the Sheik Mansour's tactics of overpaying for players and trying to buy themselves a Champions
League spot, but they did well to stick together and get to the brink of their goal.
As reports continue to surface that Gareth Barry may not be fully fit in time for the World Cup,
Owen Hargreaves chances of boarding the plane with the rest of the England squad for South Africa
have apparently increased. Despite making only one appearance for Manchester United in the past 20
months, a 2 minute cameo against Sunderland last weekend, Fabio Capello appears to see a role for
the tough tackling midfielder.
Throughout the whole qualifying campaign, Capello always had an idea how his team were going to
play and how the personnel he brought in suited his style and blueprint very well. Fast forward a
few months later, he is facing a conundrum regarding the squad he is going to take to the World
EPL Talk Podcast host Richard Farley recently conducted a brilliant interview with ESPN director
Grant Best on our sister podcast,Â Major League Soccer. The interview was so good that I wanted to
be sure to share it with you here on EPL Talk. The topics that Best and Farley cover are perfect
for the EPL Talk audience.
Wolverhampton Wanderers have switched their kit manufacturers from Le Coq Sportif to a Swiss
company named Burrda for the next three years. This Sunday, Wolves will wear their new 2010-11 away
kit for the first time in their final game of the season at home against Sunderland.
The new Wolves home kit (pictured above) retains the same stylistic features and colors that
make Wolves Wolves.
The definitive book of the 1990 World Cup was All Played Out, the magnificent work by author
Pete Davies who beautifully captured the spirit of the tournament and summed up the magical journey
that England undertook against all odds and how they tragically fell at the last hurdle on the
dreaded penalty kicks.
There are only 34 days to go before the World Cup kicks off, so we want to give you the final
opportunity before the biggest tournament begins to invite you to write for EPL Talk.
Moving forward, we'll continue to cover the Premier League (and all of the news this summer
regarding transfers, preseason friendlies, TV coverage news and more), but during the World Cup
we'll also be covering the England national team as well as analyzing the TV coverage of the
ESPN has released its third commercial for its "One Game Changes Everything" World Cup Campaign.
Â The video above titled "Power of 10â€³ has hit the airways today showcasing all the best players
to have ever worn the number, as well as those looking to impact the tournament this summer.
The Guardian is reporting The Glazer family, maligned owners of Manchester United, has adamantly
rejected a Â£1.5 billion bid from "a secretive Middle East consortium" as the American owners
remain in in their claim that the club is not for sale.
Well, we didn't get the full panoply of last-game drama. Relegation is done and dusted, the four
Champions League places are settled, and it seems quite likely that John Terry will be lifting the
trophy at about 1pm ET Sunday afternoon.
But Chelsea still needs a result against a hot-and-cold Wigan side.
As we head into the last games of the season, beyond the glamour battle between Manchester
United and Chelsea at the top, there is surprisingly little else being contested. Hull, Burnley and
Portsmouth are going down. Chelsea, ManU, Arsenal and Tottenham are going to the Champions
We have one more podcast left in the Premier League season, and Kartik Krishnaiyer, Laurence
McKenna, the Gaffer and myself need your help, as we make Monday morning's podcast our Year in
Review show. Â As we talk about whether Chelsea got their title or Spurs were able to pass Arsenal,
we will be looking back at the players, clubs and coaches that made the 2009-10 season special.
With the last weekend of the EPL season approaching the only race yet to be decided is the one
at the top. Chelsea sit one point above Manchester United with a superior goal difference and . All
20 teams in the Premier League kick-off at 10 am EST. The Blues control their own destiny, a win at
home against Wigan would bring the title back to Stamford Bridge for the first time since 2006.
Seeing which Premier League games are scheduled on television is often like reading tea leaves.
The TV networks guess which matches will generate the most number of viewers and will pick those if
they have first dibs. In the case of this Sunday's Premier League season finale, you can read a lot
into the decisions made by Fox and ESPN.
One of America's worst kept soccer secrets has finally been confirmed. Manchester United will be
touring North America this summer and playing five games across the continent from Canada to the
United States and finally to Mexico.
Celtic v Manchester United, July 16, Rogers Centre,
Philadelphia Union v Manchester United, July 21, Lincoln Financial Field,
Kansas City Wizards v Manchester United, July 25, Arrowhead Stadium,
MLS All-Stars v Manchester United, July 28, Reliant Stadium,
Chivas v Manchester United,Â July 30, Guadalajara
"It's great to be going back to North America," Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson
Many of us will wake up on Monday morning feeling slightly depressed that the 2009-10 Premier
League season is over. All that'll remain from the English football season will be the FA Cup
Final, Europa League Final and playoff matches in the Football League. Not to diminish those
exciting events, but many of us will be keeping one eye on the upcoming World Cup which will be
just 32 days away.
Someone from the Daily StarÂ has either gone to a heck of a lot of trouble and has a fair bit of
time on their hands, or West Ham United, more specifically, Sullivan and Gold,Â have a good bit of
cleaning house and cutting wages to do this off season. Unsure if this "allegedÂ official
document"Â is fact or fiction, but the 2009-2010 West Ham wage bill has been leaked and is sure to
raise a few eyebrows from Hammers fans.
As we approach the end of the Premier League season, we continue to take inventory of the season
and the site. There is no better person to do that with than our own icon, The Gaffer. On today's
edition of the EPL Talk podcast, I talk to Christopher Harris about his view of the Premier League
season, what he has planned for the future of the Talk network of sites, and what he's looking
forward to in this summer's World Cup.
It's hard to believe that the Premier League season is almost over. In my opinion, it's been one
of the better one in years and, deservedly so, the race goes down to the final day of the season to
determine the champion. Both Manchester United and Chelsea have been sensational for most of the
With the 09/10 season coming to a close, there have been great cinderella stories, in the form
of Birmingham FC and their very efficient promotion season in the Premier League, to Fulham
reaching the Europa League final, to England's â€˜Big Four' finally being broken.
Tottenham Hotspur has done it. They've struck gold by qualifying for the Champions League for
the first time in their history. And they did it in style at the ground of the club who had the
best chance of beating them to the honor.
Before Peter Crouch headed the ball into the back of the Manchester City net, I was planning on
writing an article about him tonight.
Newcastle United and West Bromwich Albion have already booked their tickets to the top flight
next season but the EPL still has room for one more club. Teams that finished 3-6 will compete in a
playoff for that final promotion spot in the Coca-Cola Championship Playoff.
Today's Manchester City against Tottenham Hotspur match has a cup final feel about it. Even
people who are Manchester United and Chelsea supporters have expressed to me how excited they are
about watching this match. On paper, both teams are pretty equal so let's hope we see an attacking,
free-flowing game with plenty of goals.
Call me a naive American, call me a football purest, or call me a relativelyÂ youngÂ football
supporter, but some of the scenes emanating across Europe this past weekend, more specifically
England's Premier LeagueÂ and Italy's Serie A, have caused football to take a minor step back as
our community prepares to plunge itself upon the world's stage in just over a month.
Jesse Chula is one of the best and most prolific authors at EPL Talk, but to this point, his
work for the site has been confined to the written word. On this edition of the EPL Talk podcast,
Chula transcends screen and commits to the track to talk to me about his history with the league
and his thoughts on the Premier League's season.
Fox has just revealed the Premier League season finale matches it'll be showing on its soccer
networks Sunday. They'll be showing the two most important games. Chelsea against Wigan Athletic
(11am ET) will air on Fox Soccer Channel, while Fox Soccer Plus will televise Manchester United
versus Stoke City (also 11am ET).
Despite the superstars that have graced the World Cup over the decades, there is one record that
may never be beaten by any player ever again. Only 3 times has a player scored double figures in a
World Cup tournament, once in 1954, Sandor Kocsis scored 11, in 1970 the legendary Gerd Muller
scored 10 goals.
All great relationships come to an end, the natural course having run as far as it can.
Sometimes they start passionately and brightly and quickly burn away to nothingness. Sometimes,
they are a slowly burning and taut affair that consumes all within them in a supernova of passion
oblivious to all around them.
Coventry City have fired manager Chris Coleman following City's relegation to Coca-Cola League
One. The move came following a 4-0 thrashing at home courtesy of Watford that ensured a 19th place
finish for The Sky Blues. The former Fulham manager took over for Ian Dowie when City sat in 20th
place in February 2008 andÂ successfullyÂ kept the club in the Championship for the past two
Yeah, It's a lot of money again for the Premier League
Having reported last week that Yahoo won the exclusive UK online highlights rights,Â it's alsoÂ
been confirmed thatÂ the only other outstanding contract for the 2010 to 2013 round, the "long
form" highlights package, has again been won by Sky.
Manchester United is reportedly scheduled to play a friendly against the Kansas City Wizards on
July 25, most probably at Arrowhead Stadium, as part of the Red Devils' summer tour of the United
The news of Manchester United's friendly in Kansas City comes from a tweet (pictured above)
posted on Twitter by a communications intern at the Wizards.
Wednesday's match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur (2:55pm ET, ESPN2) is enormous
not only because it'll help decide which club will qualify for the Champions League, but it's also
an important crossroads in the history of these two important English clubs.
The victor in the race for fourth may decide who will rise to the throne and be accepted into
the Big Four to replace Liverpool.
Perhaps the most famous Portsmouth fan in North America, Chuck Culpepper documented his
conversion to football fan and Pompey supporter in Bloody Confused (or, in the U.K., Up Pompey). In
the wake of a trying season at Fratton Park, Chuck rejoins the EPL Talk podcast to shares his views
on the turmoil, talk about his experiences going back to Fratton Park, and reflect on what the
melancholy times mean for his support of team and league.
Good news everyone. In the build-up to the World Cup, we've decided to move the EPL Talk Network
forums from Ning to www.epltalk.grou.ps.
Don't worry if you were already a member of our previous network, you have already been migrated
to our new destination, avatars and all! Due to changes in the Ning network that previously hosted
our network, the EPL Talk Network Forums will now be taking advantage of all the great features
In a recentÂ interview with The Guardian, Tottenham Hotspur star Benoit Assou-Ekotto has proven
himself to be a very honest man. If you read the interview, Assou-Ekotto talks about how football
is a job for him, not a passion. That he doesn't keep friends on the team, and that the "shirt"
means nothing to him, and other players are liars when they say they don't play for money.
Inter Milan skipper Jose Mourinho, expected by many to leave Serie A and head to Real Madrid
this summer, has already started scouting some new team members. According to the Daily Mail,
Mourinho is looking to woo Chelsea legend Frank Lampard on a Â£30 million deal.
Mourinho and Lampard spent three years together when theÂ PortugueseÂ managed Chelsea from
Slim Pickens isn't just the name of the bloke from Dr. Strangelove
Congratulations isn't just the name of the new MGMT album
Rafa's (Money Back) Guarantee
In one of the all time "we're not up for this" performances, the proud, historic, legendary
Liverpool Football Club capitulated any hope of fourth (which remember, was guaranteed) and sadly
shook the hand of Chelsea FC while Chelsea's left clutched the title.
Many of us want the season to end as soon as possible so we can begin the countdown for the
World Cup. For one Tottenham Hotspur supporter, he got a bit ahead of himself in this past
Saturday's match against Bolton Wanderers when he ran on to the pitch and lost his bearings.
For a good laugh, watch this one-of-a-kind video (see above).
Soccer fans living in the United States who want to watch Blackburn Rovers against Arsenal today
(Noon ET) will be disappointed to learn that the game is not available and is, for lack of better
words, blacked-out. It's not being shown on ESPN2 (as originally planned) or Fox Soccer Channel nor
Fox Soccer Plus or even FoxSoccer.
Fleet Street never had so much fun. Steve McClaren, who had never played or managed in London
and hailed from Yorkshire was the England manager. McClaren in retrospect never had a chance with
the snobbish London set, which is intent on writing tabloid headlines and poking fun at outsiders
and those who don't wine and dine them.
Chelsea overcame their largest remaining title obstacle on Sunday, a comfortable 2-0 win at
Anfield where an unfortunate assist from Steven Gerrard helped officially eliminate Liverpool's
chances of returning to Champions League. On this edition of the EPL Talk podcast, myself, Laurence
McKenna and Kartik Krishnaiyer review the weekend that was in the Premiership, a weekend that
featured Manchester City eliminating Aston Villa from the race for fourth place, beating the
Villans 3-1 on Saturday.
It was a nerve-wracking Sunday in the Premier League with both Chelsea and Manchester United's
Premier League title hopes on the line, but both clubs came through with their much needed three
points. That means that the Premier League will be decided on the final day of the season.
Out of the Europa league, out of the Champion's League next season, trophy-less this season, and
with key players and manager looking likely to leave, Liverpool's season of agony is coming to a
close. An outstanding contrast to the way they finished last season, the question on all Pool fans'
minds will inevitably be "what went wrong?
Someone at Fox Soccer Channel needs to learn the time difference between England and the East
Coast of the United States. Take a look at the above picture snapped this morning to see how
potential new customers FoxSoccer.tv may have missed after they listed the wrong start time for the
8:30am ET game.
For weeks pundits have pointed to Sunday as the defining day in the race for the EPL Crown.
Chelsea travels to Anfield to take on an always-dangerous Liverpool side. Chelsea hold a one-point
lead over Manchester United and Liverpool are clinging to slim Champions' League hopes. The Blues
defeated The Reds 2-0 at Stamford Bridge back in October and Rafa Benitez's men are looking for
It's hard to believe, but it's the last weekend before the final Sunday of the 2009-10 Premier
League season. I think you'll agree that it's been an incredible one both on and off the pitch. But
before I get too nostalgic, there are still big games happening this weekend and plenty to talk
Last week's match at Old Trafford between two in-form teams â€” Manchester United and Tottenham
Hotspur â€” was broadcast on ESPN2 in the United States. Regarding the number of viewers the 7:30am
ET game got, it garnered a viewing audience of 388,000 and achieved a 0.3 rating.
The audience of 388,000 definitely puts the game in the top 10 highest viewing numbers for
Premier League games on ESPN2 this season.
Stoke City announced this morning that Adidas will be their official kit supplier for the next
four years. In normal circumstances, that would be good news but many Stoke City supporters are
upset at the speculation (which has now been confirmed by Stoke City) that the backs of the shirts
will feature a solid back instead of the typical design that features stripes.