Blackburn Managing Director steps-down

Blackburn Rovers’ Managing Director Tom Finn has decided to leave the club after 15 years. Finn was a popular figure at Ewood Park and was recently voted Club Man of the Year by the Blackburn Rovers Disabled Supporters’ Association. The news comes just months after long-serving chairman John Williams also stood down from his role, following the takeover by Venky’s. Although the Indian owners have yet to announce a replacement for Williams, they did recently draft in a new deputy Chief Executive – Paul Hunt. Scroll down for rest of…

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Lessons in Football – Paul Scholes

Bursting on to the scene as a precocious attacking talent, with stints at Manchester United as a striker, central midfielder, left midfielder, support striker and deep-laying playmaker, Paul Scholes’ playing career has been as varied as it has been consistent. Where Scholes’ composure on the ball, positional sense and eye for a goal are perhaps the result of such tactical education under Sir Alex Ferguson, Ferguson will also admit part of the continued generational success at Old Trafford has been down to Scholes’ ability to find an effective role wherever…

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Chelsea news – New deal for Drogba, Mancienne £3m move, Zhirkov considers exit

Zhirkov considers exit. Yuri Zhirkov admits he is unhappy at Chelsea and is angling for a move back to Russia, according to the Mail Online. His Stamford Bridge career has been marred by incessant injury and subsequently he started just six Premier League games this season. Zenit St Petersburg and Ruben Kazan are thought to be interested in the 27-year-old, who feels he is better than his squad player status suggests: “I want to play football and not sit on the bench.” He continued: “Unfortunately at Chelsea I haven’t had…

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Tottenham news – Spurs eye Friedel, Juventus target Bale, Modric replacement lined-up?

Spurs eye Friedel. The veteran goal keeper Brad Friedel has emerged as a transfer target for Spurs this summer. It appears very likely that Heurelho Gomes will be allowed to leave following a string of blunders that ended up costing Spurs a Champions League place. Although the American keeper is already 40 the Mirror suggests today that he will be given a two year contract and will go straight into the first team. There has been considerable interest in the former Blackburn and Liverpool keeper; it is rumoured that Liverpool,…

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Arsenal news – Gunners in for Jones, Barca plan new Fab bid, Denilson £8m exit plan

Barca plan new Fab bid. The Daily Mirror reports that Barcelona are weighing up another offer for Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas and will test the Gunners’ resolve with a £30 million bid. Fabregas was the rumour of a move to the Spanish champions all last summer, but ended up staying at the Emirates and after another trophyless season in North London, the Spanish international and Arsenal captain could be looking for a move to somewhere where he can win honours year after year. Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola has made the…

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Liverpool news – Friedel to snub ‘Pool, Maxi confidence, Hamann: Reds will be stronger

Maxi confidence. Liverpool midfielder Maxi Rodriguez believes that the club have to secure a Champions League spot next season. The Liverpool Daily Post reports that the Argentinian, who finished the season on a great run of goalscoring form with seven goals in four games, is hoping Liverpool can continue their own end of season form under manager Kenny Dalglish and improve on their sixth placed finish. Rodriguez said: ‘The team did not start well, but we almost turned it around to reach Europe. We must return to the Champions League…

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Zhirkov sets sights on Chelsea exit

Yury Zhirkov has recently gone on record stating his intent to play regular football. The Russian winger claimed he is unhappy with the opportunities at Chelsea. Zhirkov’s time at Chelsea has seen him endure a series of injuries. And the £18m signing has started only six games this season. “Unfortunately at Chelsea I haven’t had enough match practice in the last season, I want to play football and not sit on the bench.” said Yury in the Daily Mail. Scroll down for rest of article This will be a blow…

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Chelsea’s new manager must build around Torres

It was quite a season for Chelsea but not entirely for all the right reasons, perhaps deemed transitional at best. January saw owner Roman Abramovich make big waves with an outlay of £70m to bring David Luiz and Fernando Torres to west-London. Following their final Premier League game of the season against Everton the Russian billionaire terminated Carlo Ancelotti’s contract. After a season soaked in surprise and controversy, the close-season and the next campaign promise to be equally intriguing. The first port of call for Abramovich surrounds the vacant managerial…

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Champions League final tactical review: Ferguson’s efforts lacked cutting edge as United failed to stop Barcelona’s ‘magic triangle’

It was pitted as the greatest challenge in Sir Alex Ferguson’s illustrious managerial career so far and it ended with him accepting the Barcelona show as the greatest performance ever against any of his sides. As expected, Barcelona lined up 4-3-3, Messi playing through the centre as a ‘false nine’ with David Villa and Pedro flanking him upfront with the usual midfield trio of Busquets, Xavi and Iniesta. The major talking point of Barcelona’s selection was in defence; Carlos Puyol was not fit enough to start so Javier Mascherano filled…

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Stats and Tactics – Barcelona

Barcelona brought the season to a close in mesmeric style on Saturday night outclassing a Manchester United team that had started the day in hopeful mood. For ten minutes the Red Devils stunned the Blaugrana, biting into tackles, pressuring high up the pitch and giving the newly crowned La Liga champions no time to build their rhythm. Then it seemed Barcelona flicked a switch. From being under fire, they took control and the Manchester team were subjected to a masterclass for the remainder of the match. Barcelona, playing their customary…

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Tactic Talk – Barcelona fill in the gaps

Barcelona’s Champions League triumph in beating Manchester United in the final for the second time in three years had a familiar feel. United looked to take the game to their opponents early on, attempting to play the Catalans at their own game by pressing high up the pitch and moving the ball quickly to draw the Barcelona side from the regimented system that had already seem them secure another domestic title this season. However, it was not long before Barcelona’s unique ability to expose space to clinical effectiveness began to…

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Owen wants Man Utd stay

Manchester United striker Michael Owen wants to stay on at the club, despite reports suggesting this would be his final season with the Premier League winners. Owen was chosen ahead of league top-scorer Dimitar Berbatov for a place on the bench in Saturday night’s 3-1 Champions League final defeat to Barcelona, suggesting that manager Sir Alex Ferguson has a renewed faith in the former Real Madrid striker. Scroll down for rest of article Owen, who is now out of contract, talked to the BBC about his future at Man Utd:…

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Wilshire’s European Championship withdrawal necessary ahead of an even busier 2012

The decision to leave Jack Wilshire out of England’s squad for the U21 European Championships this summer is seen as a victory for Arsene Wenger and common sense by some. Wilshire has indeed played a lot of football this year – in fact Wenger has been loath to omit Wilshire at all this season, racking up 4018 minutes in all competitions over 51 senior games. This figure includes three appearances for his country, with an inevitable fourth against Switzerland next month – surely no one would begrudge Wilshire a summer…

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Season review: Blackburn Rovers – Rovers end controversial season on a high

Blackburn Rovers began the season targeting a top-half finish after Sam Allardyce had guided them to 10th spot in 2009/2010. Such a repeat was always going to be a tall order given that Allardyce did not spend a single penny on strengthening the squad – which was already built on a shoestring budget – in the summer. Experienced Zimbabwean striker Benjani and defensive midfielder Herold Goulon were picked up on free transfers, while Manchester United striker Mame Biram Diouf joined Rovers on a season-long loan. After winning two of their…

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Cardiff City sack Dave Jones

Cardiff City have sacked manager Dave Jones after failing to achieve promotion from the Championship this season. The club released a statement on their official website explaining that Following an overall review and reflection on the performance of the team over the 2010 / 11 playing season, it has been decided to give Dave Jones notice to terminate his contract as manager of Cardiff City Football Club. Cardiff CEO Gethin Jenkins paid tribute to the work Jones has done at the South-Wales club: “We would like to thank Dave Jones…

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Liverpool news – Hansen: We’d challenge Barca, Skrtel backs ‘Pool for title, Flanagan out of U19 squad

Hansen: We’d challenge Barca. Former Liverpool defender Alan Hansen believes that the Liverpool side he won four European Cups with would have put up a better challenge than Manchester United, if they were playing the Spanish and now European Champions. In the Daily Telegraph, Hansen believes that Barcelona decimated an average United side and he believes his Liverpool side were a much stronger outfit and would have tested the Catalans further. ‘You have to make sure that you play really well and that they don’t, but Barcelona are so good…

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Club Focus – Everton – Vaughan sale a sad end to an unfulfilled Toffees career

The departure of James Vaughan to Norwich City brings to an end the striker’s frustrating Everton career, a tale of a player with a lot of talent and even more desire brought down by his body’s frailty and sheer bad luck. Vaughan made his Everton debut against Crystal Palace in April 2005, scoring the fourth goal in a 4-1 victory, to become not only Everton’s youngest goal scorer but the youngest player to wear the Everton shirt, the former record previously belonging to Wayne Rooney. Only two further appearances in…

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Chelsea news – Malouda wants Hiddink, Barca want Guardiola stay, Cole wins award

Barca want Guardiola stay. Barcelona winger Ibrahim Afellay has pleaded with manager Pep Guardiola to ignore Chelsea’s offer to make him their manager. PA Sport reports that Afellay hopes his manager will stay and build on the success they have achieved this season after winning the Spanish league title and the Champions League in Afellay’s first season. Guardiola is expected to receive an offer anytime soon from the Premier League side and Afellay hopes he will say no. The Dutchman said: ‘He signed a new contract, so we think he…

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Abidal thanks fans at Barcelona victory parade

Following their return to Spain after their Champions League triumph, Barcelona have held another parade through the streets of the city culminating at the Camp Nou where thousands of fans had congregated to greet their double-winning heroes. At Wembley, defender Eric Abidal had the honour of lifting the trophy after club captain Carles Puyol and Xavi Hernandez, who skippered the Catalans on the night, had stepped aside and handed Abidal the armband in an incredible gesture that perfectly exhibited the team’s togetherness. Scroll down for rest of article The Frenchman…

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Club Focus – Chelsea – Potential comings and goings at Stamford Bridge

While Chelsea are now busy in search of a new manager, they also need to consider the matter of which players to release in the summer and which players to bring in. Rumours suggest a big clear-out at the Bridge and a lot of new arrivals. The worrying aspect for Chelsea is that usually a manager’s opinion is needed when dealing with transfers and the fact they have no one in place leaves them in a very uncertain situation. The last thing the club can afford to do is buy…

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Man Utd Club Focus – A record 19th Premier League title but no European glory

When Sir Alex Ferguson arrived at Manchester United from Aberdeen nobody in their wildest dreams would have envisioned the success that the Scot has brought to the club. If you had suggested that Liverpool would not win another league title after number 18 you would have been laughed at. If you then suggested that Manchester United would overtake them on 19 you might have been regarded as dangerously insane. Yet Ferguson has delivered that special 19th, the 12th of his reign. It has been a strange campaign for the champions.…

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Championship Analysis – £90m and the promised land await Swansea or Reading

Assuming the store cupboard at Wembley boasts a spare set of goal nets after the Barcelona players meticulously clipped the existing ones following their Champions League triumph on Saturday, the world-famous stadium will host Swansea and Reading in the Championship play-off final on Bank Holiday Monday. Shane Long may not be Lionel Messi, Steven Dobbie may not be Andres Iniesta and the game won’t be watched by several millions worldwide, but this is a fixture that nevertheless carries an enormous reward, both prestige-wise and financially – there’s a reported £90m…

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Chelsea news – Blues step-up £23m Neymar chase, Redknapp would cost £15m, Modric open to move

Redknapp would cost £15m. Chelsea will be forced to pay a staggering £15m, if they are to poach Harry Redknapp from Tottenham, the People report. The west-Londoners’ first choice is Guus Hiddink, but if he fails to negotiate a move away from his current role with the Turkish national side, then the north-Londoners’ manager is next on Roman Abramovich’s wish-list. The notion suggested, is for Redknapp to move across the capital as part of a ‘dream team’ set up, with Avram Grant joining the Lily Whites manager at the Stamford…

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Tottenham news – Spurs in for Berbatov, Muslera linked, Bale wants Britain role

Spurs in for Berbatov. After striker Dimitar Berbatov did not make the squad for Manchester United’s Champions League Final against Barcelona, The Metro reports that former club Tottenham Hotspur are in the market for Berbatov. The Bulgarian forward spent two seasons at White Hart Lane, scoring 27 goals in 90 appearances, before his switch to Old Trafford in 2009. However, after he was snubbed for the biggest game in European club football last night by Sir Alex Ferguson, the rumour is that Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp would love to take…

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Liverpool news – Reds keen on £7.5m Long, Marveaux confirms Rennes exit, Mascherano dedicates win to Reds

Mascherano dedicates win to Reds. The Metro reports that Barcelona defender Javier Mascherano has dedicated his side’s Champions League final victory over Manchester United to his former club Liverpool. The Argentinian moved to Barcelona in the summer of 2010 for £22 million and angered the Anfield fans by forcing the move through and expressing his desire to leave the Reds. However, there will be a section of Liverpool fans who will have forgiven Mascherano after he helped to prevent Manchester United winning their fourth Champions League trophy. Mascherano said: ‘I…

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