Premier League Lessons – Tony Adams

We have relived some of the best attacking talents the Premier League has seen, so now A Different League reminds you of one of the great defenders – Tony Adams of Arsenal. He may not have been one of the most technically gifted players of his generation but Tony Adams more than made up for it with his never-say-die attitude and fantastic leadership skills. He was one of the best central defenders of his time, despite having to overcome many off-the-field demons. Known in the red-half of north London simply…

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From the Archive – Tottenham Hotspur 3-4 Manchester City – Febuary 4, 2004

The best cup competition in the world? The FA Cup. Showcasing the passion, excitement and perhaps the unbelievable nature of English football, the FA Cup is a veritable one-off. On February 4th 2004, a fourth round replay between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City re-ignited the Cup’s old sparkle with a remarkable turnaround which evoked the sheer magic of the famous knockout competition. After a disappointing 1-1 draw at the City of Manchester stadium in the initial fourth round tie, the game was taken to a replay at White Hart Lane.…

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Fit & Proper – The Glazers, Manchester United

20th July 2009 When Malcolm Glazer became the majority shareholder of Manchester United, the consensus was that the club was on a path to ruin. Fans protested, season tickets were cancelled and FC United of Manchester was founded as an alternative for those wishing to uphold the sacred essence of the beautiful game. But after four years, three Premier League titles and two consecutive Champions League finals, the anger of 2005 has been largely forgotten, consigned to the past along with the doomsday predictions which had plagued Old Trafford during…

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England’s Future Stars – Theo Walcott

Considered to be one of England’s finest talents, Theodore James Walcott is still a work-in-progress when it comes to attaining a regular England and Arsenal place. Highly regarded by the English media and his club boss Arsene Wenger, Theo Walcott is working hard to do justice to his reputation. Aside from his performances as a senior England player, Walcott has been a regular at the U-21 level, with both playing a part in his bid to become one of England’s brightest future stars. The former Southampton youngster was heralded as…

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Top 10 Premier League players to watch in South Africa

We all know Cristiano Ronaldo will be more than a threat for Portugal and that Emmanuel Adebayor will be Togo’s main source of attack should they qualify, but what about the rest of the Premier League? A Different League takes a look at some of the players who might be a star in their national side but playing for a club outside the big boys or perhaps they are shining in the league but their international career is just beginning to blossom. Who are the players England must respect at…

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A Different Week – The City circus

It is a good time to be a Manchester City supporter at the moment. Billionaire owner, plenty of money, a good young manager, quality players coming into the club and Darius Vassell heading out. Yet surely the question must be asked what happens if it all goes wrong? The big transfer rumour this week concerning City is that John Terry would like to talk to them. This was followed with Chelsea (not John Terry) denying it. Terry would be an astute signing but it is difficult to see, money aside,…

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Premier League Lessons – Ryan Giggs

Taking the reins from Zola in A Different League’s Premier League Lessons series is Manchester United’s Ryan Giggs. From Ryan Giggs’ last Premier League goal for Manchester United against Middlesbrough, it is evident that he still has the same quality he has shown throughout his elaborate career. It was Giggs who scored 13 years ago when United won the title at the Riverside Stadium. This was a clear emulation of his younger self. A clear sign of a true United legend. Giggs was only 17 years old when he made…

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Tactical breakdown – The England midfield

Fabio Capello’s appointment as England Head Coach in January 2008 signalled the dawn of a new no-nonsense regime for the Three Lions under a Coach who cares little for names and reputations. The eras of Steve McClaren and Sven Goran Eriksson were dogged by alleged favouritism and an inflexibility to play the best team if it meant dropping the biggest names. There is no clearer example of this than the Steven Gerrard-Frank Lampard quandary that England’s two previous Head Coaches failed to resolve, a dilemma Capello has now inherited as…

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England’s future stars – Jack Wilshere

In the first of a regular series on A Different League, England’s future stars looks at the bright young English players that could one day be wearing the Three Lions. Kicking things off we take a look at a burgeoning young talent at Arsenal. Very rarely do you come across a player, an English player at that, who possesses the kind of football maturity and intelligence way beyond his years – Jack Wilshere is one of the very few. Often deployed in the holding role just behind the two strikers,…

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Club History – Newcastle United

Newcastle United’s origins stem from two rivals in the city, Newcastle East End and Newcastle West End. East End was originally formed as the Stanley Cricket Club of South Byker, but changed their name to avoid confusion with the Stanley club in Durham. They soon merged with another side, Rosewood FC, to form an even stronger team. In the other side of the city another cricket club formed a football team, calling themselves West End FC. West End became the city’s dominant football club but East End was keen not…

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World Cup Years – Germany 2006

In A Different League’s World Cup Years series, we remind you of the dreams, dramas and, ultimately, disappointments of World Cups past. First up is Germany 2006. Sven-Goran Eriksson’s England was a football team with the potential to better the heroes of 1966. Eventually, however, due to intense media speculation and lack of big match temperament, the hopes of a nation were crushed once more. The 2006 tournament – on European soil – was the ultimate test for Swede Eriksson, who had been credited with bringing back English pride since…

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England’s past Coaches – Sven-Goran Eriksson (2001-2006)

To coincide with the World Cup Years series, A Different League also looks back at England’s long history of Head Coaches. Next up is controversial Swede Sven-Goran Eriksson. Sven-Goran Eriksson first hit the headlines on these shores when the FA confirmed his appointment as the first foreign Head Coach of the England national team. The Swede’s reign in England’s top job was one of undoubted joy followed by immediate disappointment, as the former Lazio Coach endured a turbulent spell at the helm. The now infamous Swede found himself on the…

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Premier League Lessons – Gianfranco Zola

Allow yourself to reminisce about the all-time greats of the English game with A Different League’s Premier League Lessons series. Kicking us off is Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola. An Italian magician was brought to the Premier League by Chelsea in November 1996, giving fans across the world a wonderful appetite for sheer craft, skill, imagination and wizardry. Gianfranco Zola was brought to Chelsea from Parma in a £4.5million deal in November 1996 by their Dutch manager, Ruud Gullit. Learning his trade at Napoli from the one and only Diego Maradona,…

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Fit & Proper – Mike Ashley, Newcastle United

The first feature of A Different League’s Fit & Proper series, as we take a look at the money-men (and women) bankrolling our beautiful game. By his own omission, Mike Ashley’s two years as owner of Newcastle United have been fraught with problems. Following the Toon’s relegation from the Premier League on the final day of the 2008/09 season, Ashley summed up his time with the club in an interview with The Sunday Times : “It has been catastrophic for everybody. I’ve lost my money and I’ve made terrible decisions.…

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From the Archive – Leeds United 4-3 Liverpool – November 4, 2000

The first feature in A Different League’s From the Archive series. We turn back the clock to remind our readers of the classic Premier League fixtures of the past. Leeds versus Liverpool is one of the great fixtures of English football and this game on a sunny November lunchtime is perhaps one of the best meetings between the two. Remember when Leeds dared to dream that they could be a legitimate force in the top division in England? The glory days of Revie, Bremner and Giles were long gone but…

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A Different Week – Owen’s move reminiscent of The Boss

“The highway’s jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive.” On the face of it The Boss and Michael Owen do not have a lot in common. For a start an interview with Bruce Springsteen does not leave the viewer wanting to pull their own face off out of sheer boredom. Yet that lyric from Springsteen’s epic Born To Run just about sums up the situation that Michael Owen currently finds himself in. There is no doubt that Owen signing for Manchester United is the biggest story of…

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A Different Opinion – What is the difference between Arsenal and Tottenham in 2009? Two transfers.

Arsenal are two transfers away from becoming as familiar as they’ll ever be to fierce north London rivals Tottenham. Should Cesc Fabregas and Arsene Wenger realise they are too big for the club and seek recognition on a stage more befitting of their respective talents, then the Emirates could become an even quieter stadium come Saturday afternoons (and they will see a great deal more of their games on a Saturday afternoon what with Sky picking big games for Super Sunday shows). What’s worse is the club will resemble closest…

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Press Watch – Are the football broadcasters of 2009 shying away from interesting pundits?

Earlier this year there was an almighty hoopla over the David Peace novel The Damned United. The book gives a fictional account on Brian Clough’s infamous 44 days in charge of Leeds United. It’s definitely worth a read but be warned it paints Old Big ‘Ed in a less than favouring light. It has also been adapted into an excellent film starring Michael Sheen as the former Nottingham Forest and Derby County manager. ITV have capitalised on Clough fever with their own documentary on him, shown on March 25. The…

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Club History – Arsenal

Kicking off one of A Different League’s regular features, we take a look at the grand history of English clubs, offering our readers an in-depth glance through the archives. Arsenal – A history draped in English folklore Ask anyone in this football-mad world about Arsenal and you will find people of all nationalities and castes speaking of a team that has a world-renowned style of playing football. Not as popular as the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United, AC Milan or Real Madrid in terms of history, yet the club from…

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2010 World Cup countdown – The lessons learnt from the Confederations Cup

Jonathan Swindlehurst witnessed the 2009 Confederations Cup first-hand, whilst working at the event and provides A Different League an insight into what worked and what didn’t for the 2010 World Cup hosts in their dress rehearsal. The world’s gaze has been firmly focused on South Africa since Sepp Blatter announced the host for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Following such a successful event in Germany in 2006, not simply in football terms but in respect of the infrastructure within the country, an extremity of issues such as stadium completion and…

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England’s past Coaches – Steve McClaren (2006 – 2008)

Continuing A Different League’s World Cup coverage is the first of a series of articles looking back at England’s past Coaches. Steve McClaren was appointed England Manager on May 4, 2006, taking charge on the August 1, 2006 after the World Cup in Germany. In his brief tenure in the England hot-seat the country failed to qualify for a major tournament for the first time in 18 years. McClaren was sacked as Manager on November 22, 2007, just hours after defeat to Croatia ended England’s hopes of reaching Euro 2008.…

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Tactical breakdown – The England defence

Kicking off A Different League’s World Cup coverage is the first of a mini-series of analytical discussions looking at the options available to Fabio Capello in defence, midfield and attack. Tactical debates have long been at the forefront of England fans’ minds but since the embarrassment of not reaching the Euro 2008 finals discussions surrounding the national side have intensified. The questions are still firmly there as South Africa 2010 looms. Despite Fabio Capello’s recent success, fans are still looking for answers to some puzzling questions, including probably the most…

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A Different League’s World Cup coverage preview

Over the next 300-odd days, in anticipation of the world’s biggest showcase event in sport, A Different League will provide you with the ultimate build up to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Expect full coverage and highlights on the upcoming international friendlies and remaining Group 6 qualifiers, as well as extended focus throughout the year on the 23-man squad we believe will be going to South Africa. We will also spend the next year looking back on this great footballing nation’s history, remembering past players, Managers and controversies,…

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