Hammers injury-curse continues

Football fans rarely agree on most things, however one fact they can all accept is that West Ham has awful luck when it comes to injuries. It would seem that the footballing gods will just not allow the Hammers to have a full compliment of players to pick from, with Luis Boa Morte the latest claret-and-blue casualty. Whether it is new signings getting injured, in-form players sitting on the treatment table or those who have been biding their time for a chance, it would seem no one is safe from…

Read More

A Different Week – Trouble at the Toon

Amid the fairly mundane pre-season friendlies the past weekend, one result stuck out like a sore thumb. Leyton Orient 6 Newcastle United 1. With less than two weeks until their first league game, no new players brought in and still no permanent manager at the helm what exactly is going on at the Toon? It was only a friendly but the problems at the club obviously go much deeper. It is no secret that Mike Ashley wants to sell the club, yet despite allusions to the contrary no bid seems…

Read More

From the Archive – Bradford 1-0 Liverpool – May 14, 2000

Next up in our From the Archive series is Bradford City’s top-flight status saving victory against Liverpool in 2000. Bradford City produced one of the all-time great Premier League escapes as they defeated Liverpool by a single goal to stay up on the final day of the 1999/00 season. Going into the game few people gave Bradford much of a chance as they needed to defeat the might of Liverpool and other results to go in their favour. There have been many dramatic final day escapes in the history of…

Read More

2010 World Cup – The 23-man England squad according to A Different League

The World Cup is going to Africa and with less than a year until the big kick off the team at A Different League have got together and made Fabio Capello’s job easy by picking England’s 23-man squad for him. Below is our choice of England’s finest along with a brief look at the players who have just missed out but could still force their way in. We shall follow the form and fitness of our selected team along with the players who might be in Capello’s thoughts and update…

Read More

European League round-up – Bundesliga 2008/09

To kick-off A Different League’s 2009/10 weekly Bundesliga coverage, we take a look back at the 2008/09 campaign, in what was one of the most thrilling and unpredictable seasons Germany has ever witnessed. If you’re after an exciting and open title race with plenty of twists and turns along the way, then you need look no further than last seasons Bundesliga. It was a league characterised by open attacking football, combined with some decidedly dodgy defending, paving the way for exciting matches and plenty of goals. Promotion and relegation issues…

Read More

European League round-up – La Liga 2008/09

To begin A Different League’s 2009/10 weekly La Liga coverage, we remind you what happened in Spain last season. The 2007/08 La Liga season had passed with relative insignificance. An all-English Champions League final was the last game on the UEFA calendar, while Real Madrid cantered to victory in La Liga, eight points ahead of second-placed Villareal and a staggering 18 clear of great rivals Barcelona, in a year when vicious in-fighting and poor results replaced the usual flair and brilliance at the Camp Nou. But with the sweet scent…

Read More

Club Focus – Chelsea – Terry commits future to positive Blues set-up

Chelsea enjoyed a promising week after John Terry ended speculation from an audacious Manchester City – ultimately failing in their attempts to prize away the heart and soul of the London club. The club captain insisted the move was never on the agenda, pledging his future once again to the side that means so much to him. The 28-year-old brings more than just natural leadership to the Bridge, his effect in the dressing room is evident. Coach Carlo Ancelotti has placed emphasis on the factors of morale and solidarity within…

Read More

Club Focus – Fulham – Long season ahead

An all-time highest top-flight finish and European qualification through league position were the highs that Fulham ended the 2008/09 season on. Most fans and members of the Press are pointing to major strengthening of the playing squad this summer if the Whites are to cope with the added expectation and fatigue European football brings. So far, however, manager Roy Hodgson has only added two players to an already small squad – former Tottenham right-back Stephen Kelly and a Norwegian by the name of Riise. No, not that one – his…

Read More

Club Focus – Newcastle – Pre-season woe

Newcastle United still remains in limbo, much to the frustration of everyone associated with the club. Although the club is still up for sale, it looks increasingly likely that Mike Ashley will remain in the St James’ Park directors’ box at the start of the season. Progress with the sale of the club appears to have hit another brick wall. There has been no news out of St James’ Park in the past few weeks regarding a sale, just adding to the fans’ frustration and contempt towards the Ashley regime.…

Read More

Club Focus – Liverpool – The People of Thailand & Singapore vs. Xabi Alonso

A Liverpool midfielder shuffled nervously in his seat, his body language giving away his apprehension at the verdict that awaits him. His interrogator addressed the captivated crowd, turned to the player, and asked the question that Liverpool fans everywhere are desperate to hear the answer to: “Xabi, are you going to stay at the club?’ If Xabi Alonso had hoped that news of his apparent desire to leave Liverpool hadn’t reached Bangkok then he was to be disappointed. Thai fans held up banners pleading with the fans’ favourite to stay,…

Read More

Club Focus – Manchester United – Welcome to Manchester, Michael

It has been a summer of much transition in Sir Alex Ferguson’s forward line. Cristiano Ronaldo’s much publicised courting by Real Madrid ended in an £80m switch making him the most expensive footballer ever and Carlos Tevez acrimonious departure culminated in a switch to rivals Manchester City. “Welcome to Manchester” Carlos, or at least the blue half anyway. When Sir Alex Ferguson resisted the summer trend of splashing the cash and opted for a free transfer in the shape of Michael Owen as a direct replacement for the Argentine many…

Read More

Club Focus – Arsenal – Pre-season preparations take a few hits

A brand new season draws closer than ever and English Premier League sides like Arsenal are preparing for a grueling season set to get underway on August 15. Four trophy-less seasons and understandably fans at the Emirates are gradually losing patience over the club’s long term plans. Yet, in Arsene Wenger they still have a prudent manager whose calmness through all the ups and downs of the last few seasons gives Arsenal fans genuine belief that success is on the way next season. Currently on a pre-season tour of Austria,…

Read More

Club History – Manchester City

From starting off as a church football team – named St. Mark’s – in 1880, to being established as a top-flight side, Manchester City is a football club with a glorious history – a history unfortunately overshadowed by its many failures and relegations. However at the moment, with new owners Abu Dhabi providing a huge injection of money, it is no wonder why manager Mark Hughes wants to buy the most expensive players to accentuate the status of his team. City are once again aspiring to be a top four…

Read More

England’s past Coaches – Kevin Keegan (1998-2001)

Keegan returned as a manager after eight years out of the game following retirement in 1992 at struggling Newcastle United. At the time the Magpies were facing relegation to the third tier of English football but Keegan inspired them to beat the drop. Backed by Chairman Sir John Hall, Keegan led Newcastle to promotion to the Premier League in only his second season. Keegan quickly established Newcastle as a top Premiership side made up of quality attacking players. In the 1995-96 season Newcastle looked on course to win their first…

Read More

England Future Stars – Mark Noble

West Ham youth academy has a prestigious reputation for producing England internationals. Rio Ferdinand, Joe Cole, Michael Carrick, and Frank Lampard just to name a few of the players to make their mark on the international scene with England. The player we are looking at is a graduate of this famous academy and has already made his mark on the under 21 scene. He will be hoping to bide his time before he is given his chance to earn a full cap by England head coach Fabio Capello. We are…

Read More

Premier League Lessons – Alan Shearer

Alan Shearer’s 260 Premier League goals see the Geordie striker sit at the very top of a star-studded list as the all-time highest Premier League goalscorer. His closest rival sits a spectacular 73 goals behind and this statistic in itself is why the Newcastle United legend is also a Premier League legend. An illustrious career started with Shearer ditching his northern roots as Southampton offered him a shot at the big time in 1986. Two years later, and at the tender age of just 17, Shearer made his debut with…

Read More

From the Archive – Liverpool 4-3 Newcastle – April 3, 1996

This match is regarded by many as the greatest game in Premier League history. As a spectacle the game had almost everything – great goals, end to end action and late drama. The match showcased the Premier League at its most exciting and frenetic best – two top sides going all-out for victory. While some purists may argue that the game was more about woeful defending and tactical naivety, it should really be seen as a victory for attacking football at its very best. The 1995/96 season was one of…

Read More

A Different Week – David Beckham – End of an American dream?

In January 2007 when it was announced that David Beckham would sign for LA Galaxy on a five-year contract worth an estimated £128m it seemed like a marriage made in heaven. American soccer would get a figurehead for their game whilst Beckham would be compensated heavily for trying to boost popularity for the sport in the United States. However after this weeks confrontation with a fan it seems like Becks’ American Dream has turned sour. Of course, the real reason that Beckham gobbled up Galaxy’s riches was that it gave…

Read More

A Different Opinion – Knuckles down, Neanderthals

Steven Gerrard’s in the dock over accusations of assault, David Beckham’s beckoning aggressively to fans in front of the world’s media (and some young supporters in Milan shirts). Not the best week for two of our country’s finest footballers, what must Fabio Capello be thinking? Gerrard’s much-publicised court case has been all over the tabloids and broadsheets this week, detailing accusations of a nightclub brawl tantamount to that of a boxing match. Meanwhile the pressure on Beckham threatened to overheat during the ill-advised friendly between current employers LA Galaxy and…

Read More

Fit & Proper – Mohamed Al-Fayed, Fulham

In a sport where nowadays the richest clubs are invariably the most successful, we can look back to over a decade ago when Mohamed Al-Fayed became one of English football’s original ‘sugar daddies’. Before the days when football clubs were toys for the billionaires of this world, the role of the Chairman was simply to oversee the running of his club. Naturally, some would have more resources than others, but that is nothing compared to what the football world has seen since the turn of the new millennium. In 1997,…

Read More

England’s Future Stars – Daniel Sturridge

Chelsea’s recent acquisition of exciting Manchester City forward Daniel Sturridge was buried under screeds of newsprint devoted to the madness of Real Madrid and Man City’s summer spending, but the Blues of a darker shade may well have bagged themselves a future Premier League and England star. Sturridge comes from a family of professional footballers of decent pedigree, whose careers saw them ply their trade at clubs such as Derby County and Birmingham City. Uncle Dean Sturridge, well known both to all Rams supporters and Premier League fans of a…

Read More

Tactical Breakdown – The England attack

Shearer and Sheringham, Shearer and Owen, Rooney and Owen. These are all great England strike partnerships from major tournaments of recent years, but the situation as we see it now is not as clear as it was a few years ago. A fit Wayne Rooney to start is a given but since the decline in form and stature of Michael Owen, finding a strike partner for the former Everton man is becoming increasingly difficult. In terms of formation, die hard England fans categorically insist on 4-4-2, as this is the…

Read More

World Cup Years – Japan & South Korea 2002

Next up in A Different League’s World Cup Years series is the first in Eriksson’s reign, with arguably the most welcoming hosts there has been – World Cup 2002. Readers of The Sun praying for David Beckham’s second metatarsal in his left foot to heal is one of the abiding memories of the 2002 World Cup. This was the first time the tournament had been held in the continent of Asia, with co-hosts Japan and Korea sharing the world’s gaze. This ensured all avid England fans were glued to their…

Read More

Club History – Manchester United

Having won the league championship 18 times, Manchester United is English football’s joint most successful club in terms of league titles, level with Liverpool. They are outright the most successful Premier League side however, having won it a total of 11 times since its inception in 1992 and is the club most synonymous with winning silverware to football fans in today’s game. The recent success has not always been the case for a club formed in much more humble beginnings. Manchester United Football Club was formed in 1878 as Newton…

Read More