Tag Archives: Football Fans

England win but football loses

Its not often you come away from a tough away game with a 6-0 win and feel sad and disillusioned with the game. But for many last night, the sad scenes in the stands in Sofia overshadowed what was a very good England performance and threw the game into disrepute. 

There had been much speculation about the behaviour of the Bulgarian fans, after a number of incidents in recent years highlighted the large racist undertone within their fan base, and England captain Harry Kane had spoke of leading his teammates off the field if there was any sniff of racially motivated chanting or jeers.

From the get go England’s black stars were booed every time they touched the ball, attackers Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford as well as debutant centre back Tyrone Mings. But it wasn’t until the 28th minute play was put on hold with discussions taking place on the sideline, and a stadium announcement being made over the speakers warning fans the game would be stopped if this behaviour carried on.

However, this did not stop the chants, the boo’s and the abhorrent monkey noises being made, and the game was then stopped again in the 43rd minute, this time with Southgate talking with the referee before the game was again restarted.

Further racist incidents continued into the second half, caught on pitch-side microphones, but play was not stopped for a third time, which would have been crucial as UEFA’s three step racism protocol states if a match is stopped for a third time the match must be abandoned.

Further footage shows fans doing Nazi salutes and one fan holding up a “no respect” jumper. Debate has been rife over the best course of action in a situation such as this, is it best to walk from the pitch refusing to stand for this kind of abuse? Or is it best to play on and not let the racists win? England chose the latter last night, and with Rashford and Sterling both scoring, as well as Ross Barkley who’s grandfather is Nigerian, well and truly silenced the racist scum in the stands.

If this was not bad enough, Bulgaria’s own manager Krasimir Balakov seemingly defended his fans post match, claiming he did not hear any racist chants towards the England players and actually blamed the England fans for unacceptable behaviour. When the man at the top is seemingly just as bad as the racists in the stands, it is concerning for all involved and something UEFA must take a serious look at.

With all of the focus being firmly set on what happened off the pitch, it is important to remember just what the England players achieved in representing their country in such difficult circumstances, standing up to racism and doing our country proud in the process.

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Bayern demolish Dortmund to reclaim Bundesliga top spot! Talking points :

Bayern Munich thrashed title rivals Borussia Dortmund 5–0 in Saturday’s Der Klassiker to reclaim top spot from their arch rivals. Described by many as the ‘biggest game in Europe’, Bayern swept aside Dortmund who led the table by 2 points before the game, with a ruthless display of attacking and fearless football and now lead the table by a point with 6 games left to play.
The visitors, who once lead the league by 9 points and looked set to prevent Bayern winning their seventh consecutive title, have seen their form dip in recent weeks and the display on Saturday showed they need to overcome a huge hurdle now if they still are to prevent Bayern winning their 29th Bundesliga title.

A lot was expected from the match, and Dortmund indeed started brightly with Mahmoud Dahoud hitting the post early on. However, once Mats Hummel’s header gave Bayern the lead, there was no looking back for the Bavarians. They lead 4–0 at the break, with goals from Lewandowski, Javi Martinez and Serge Gnabry adding to Dortmund’s misery.
And it was Lewandowski who completed the rout at the closing stages of the match, thereby also making him the first foreign player to score 200 league goals in German football.

But lets have a look at where exactly Dortmund got it wrong and Bayern prevailed.

  1. Bayern dominated the all important Mid-field battle : Nico Kovac’s decision to start with  Javi Martinez and Thiago Alcantara was spot on as the duo provided perfect blend of defensive stability and attacking creativity in the middle of the park. Martinez playing as the defensive midfielder made some crucial interventions and did not allow the likes of Dahoud and Reus to play their free flowing football for Dortmund. He capped off a solid performance with a well finished goal as well which effectively sealed the game for Bayern. Thiago Alcantara was also at his mercurial best and the opposition has no answer to his exquisite passing range. Along with the assist to Bayern’s opener, he created seven chances, more than any player in the game.
  2. Dortmund’s poor defending:
    Dortmund’s back four were poor is possession multiple times and found it difficult to cope with Bayern’s pressing game. Their Center back pairing of Akanji and Zagadou were at fault for most of the goals, also with Diallo playing as make shift Left back, Bayern took full advantage of their poor chemistry and below average link-up in defense. Also surprisingly Lukasz Piszczek was equally poor as the right back, and was constantly troubled by the pace and agility of Coman throughout the game. Also he was at fault for the first Bayern goal, giving Hummels enough room to place his header past their GK.

This kind of defensive performance is not going to take Dortmund anywhere near the title, and the manager needs to get the balance right before the next game to keep their title charge on track.

3. Bayern’s super Pressing game :

As mentioned, Dortmund’s defense were under constant threat by Bayern’s immense press throughout the match and Nico Kovac’s tactics were spot on to lead Bayern back to the top of the table. The attackint quartet of Lewandowski, Muller, Coman and Gnabry won the ball back on multiple occasions in the final third. Their quick interplay and swift interchange in position gave Dortmund no time on the ball, causing them to concede possession in vital areas of the field. Bayern’s tactics didn’t allow Witsel or Delaney to link up with Sancho, Reus or Brunn Larsen, leaving the forwards very frustrated without any service for most parts of the game.

Nico Kovac’s Bayern side now have the edge to secure their seventh straight title, but any complacency might lead to Dortmund reclaiming the top spot again as there is very little margin for error during the business end of the season. However, one thing is for sure, the Bundesliga is all set for one of its best finishes in recent years and here on 24-7 football, we will keep you updated till the last chapter of the season is written and finished off.

Bury | Promotion Contenders… But Not Paid!

Bury, are in a great posistion in EFL 2, currently sitting 3rd in the league and in an automatic promotion spot, despite being beaten 3~0 by Cambridge at home, yesterday evening.

Following the clubs relegation last season from League 1, they have bounced back impressively under the guidance of former player Ryan Lowe and are strong contenders to bounce straight back up.

However, this success has been achieved against the back drop of a club take over and some severe financial restrictions placed on the club, as a result.

On the 11th December, Bury announced that Steve Dale, a local business man, was the new owner, who outlined his vision for Bury

 

“I’m delighted to have taken over this historic club. My initial plan is to establish Bury as a stable and self-sufficient League One side.

“I want to re-establish the club in the local community by investing time and resources to something that is vitally important to football clubs.”

Just this week, Bury announced that a winding up order to close the club down had been successfully dismissed, with Steve Dale, stating that the clubs cash flow problems, date back to when he took over the club, from the previous ownership.

These cashflow problems have led to the players and staff not being paid, as well as the fans being advised that for the game against Cambridge, that entrance would be cash only due to problems with the credit card machines

It is not known if this arrangement was with Zebra Finance who are known to have issues of their own, which affect several other football clubs both in England and Scotland.

What is certain is that Steve Dale is doing his best to stabilise Bury, and has already introduced a partnership with a renewable energy firm, which should inject some funds into Bury.

So Bury, could be promotion contenders and lets hope they get paid soon.

 

Offside trust: Fighting one of football’s darkest secrets

On the 31st of March, 24/7 football travelled to the Deva Stadium in Chester to witness a groundbreaking game between the Offside trust XI and Hollyoaks XI. Although the Offside trust XI lost 7-2 on the day it was a monumental day for the charity and everyone involved.

Who are the Offside trust?

The Offside trust was set up in 2016 to help ex-footballers and other individuals within sport who were sexually abused as children. The trust was set up by former Crewe midfielder, Steve Walters, and former PGA professional, Chris Unsworth. The Offside trust was set up in December of 2016 after seven former professional players waived their right to anonymity to speak about their past abuse. The trust was set up in mind to provide a platform for other players who have suffered abuse to speak out and to make the world of sport a much safer place for children.

Child abuse in sport

In recent years, child abuse in football has become one of the biggest issues surrounding the beautiful game, tarnishing the reputation of the sport. In 2017 alone ,the Guardian reported that the police were investigating over 2000 child abuse cases in the UK. Furthermore, the NPCC ( National police chief council ) found 340 clubs had been impacted by investigations ranging from the top level of the game all the way down to amateur football in England. A truly staggering number that has stunned the football community, plus with the numbers of reported child abuse going up in the UK it leads to many asking, what is being done?  This is where the Offside trust comes in.

What the Offside trust do

The Offside trust are an important organisation that offers ex and current footballers and other sports players the opportunity to discuss their abuse. The trust also allows survivors to be able to open up about their abuse and not feel alone in doing so with the full support of the trust behind them. The Offside trust is also fully committed to ending child abuse in sport and allowing children to enjoy the sport without the fear of abuse. The trust is also committed to working with governing bodies inside and out of the sport to ensure the best safeguarding practices are in place to ensure no further abuse can be committed.

The importance of the Offside trust

With the rise of cases in child abuse in both football and other sports the Offside trust and other similar bodies have never been so important with charities like the Offside trust offering vital support and a safe environment for victims of abuse to come forward and not to feel alone in their struggles. With Steve Walters the founder of the Offside trust describing in an interview with 24/7 football that the Offside trust is “like a family where we share our problems and experiences but are there to support one another.” The charity’s work cannot be underestimated as it has helped give victims, or survivors as the Offside trust likes to call them, a voice and a safe family-like place to discuss issues and hopefully to help survivors move on with their lives.

Although the Offside trust XI lost 7-2 to the Hollyoaks XI it was still a significant day for the trust, raising thousands of pounds, playing in front of a decent crowd, and having players such as Danny Murphy and Trevor Sinclair playing for the trust XI.

If you know someone or you yourself have been affected by abuse please reach out. Links to the Offside trust will be below plus the email to the Offside trust.

support@offsidetrust.com, http://www.offsidetrust.com/

Also if you would like to donate to the Offside trust please click the link: https://mydonate.bt.com/charities/theoffsidetrust

Finally, if you would like to see our full interview with Steve Walters clink the link :

Written by Tom Langford

Fantasy League Picks For GameWeek 32

As the Premier League season draws to a close, the final eight games will be crucial for fantasy football fans to capitalise on games to gain the most amount of points as possible. This 32nd game week has various teams such as City, United, Watford, Wolves, Chelsea, Fulham, Cardiff, Spurs and Palace playing two games, so there is an increased chance of maximising your points tally by including players from these teams.

Starting off with the defence, Manchester City have games v Fulham and Cardiff, in both of which they should be keeping clean sheets. Therefore, Ederson (£5.6m) and Walker (£6.4m) look good value and would be the picks of this week. Bearing in mind City have a double game week which could bring a solid amount of points, especially against these teams who have been battling relegation. Our good value pick at the back would be Doherty from Wolves (£5.3m), who is playing Burnley and Manchester United. The Irish wing back likes to get forward and usually provides an assist or a goal, so with this double game week he has a chance to put some points on the board for your side.

Moving onto the midfield, the two star picks of the week would be our captain, Raheem Sterling (£11.6m), and Eden Hazard (£10.9m). Sterling is currently the man of the moment and is in the form of his life, and with games against Fulham and Cardiff, we wouldn’t be surprised if he can reach the 20 goal mark by the end of this game week. Hazard is also up against easy opposition, Cardiff and Brighton. Against both teams, he should be having a influential impact on the game, and being the penalty taker in the side gives a great chance for him to get on the score sheet. Our good value tip would be Deulofeu, the Watford winger (£5.7m). He has 12 goal contributions in 23 games for Watford this season, and up against Manchester United and Fulham, could add to that tally.

Finally, the strike force. Harry Kane (£12.5m) and Sergio Aguero (£11.8m) would be our top picks for this game week. Aguero has 18 goals in the premier league this season, and whilst going for the Golden Boot, he will be looking to bolster his goal tally with games against Fulham and Cardiff. Kane has a tough game at Anfield on Sunday, where he scored a 95th minute equaliser last season and 2 in the last 3 visits against Liverpool. In addition to this, Spurs play Crystal Palace in their new stadium on Wednesday, and Kane will be looking to open his tally as the Stadium is due to hold its first competitive game. Our good value pick of the week is Raul Jimenez (£6.5m). The Mexican has had a great first season in the Premier League, and will be hoping to help Wolves achieve the Europa League spot in 7th place with a couple of goals this game week against Burnley and Manchester United.