All posts by Luke Harris

5 Manchester United players you forgot Alex Ferguson signed (Videos)

After 26 years in charge of Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson has finally decided to call it a day. The Scot won 13 League titles with the club with the help of some of the Premier League greats. Names such as Cantona, Giggs, Keane, Ferdinand, Beckham and Ronaldo come to mind when reminiscing about Ferguson’s time at Old Trafford, and the 71-year-old was widely praised for his ability in the transfer market and skill in spotting a bargain.

However in his 26-year tender there were always going to be players who didn’t live up to their peers, and have all but been forgotten. In this game of I-Spy your Man U knowledge will be put through its paces.

1. Luke Chadwick- 5 points for remembering.

It may shock you to learn that Chadwick spent five seasons at Old Trafford, between 1999 and 2004, making a grand total of 25 appearances for the club during that time. Chadwick was loaned out four times in five seasons, and although he never had the ability to break into the Manchester United midfield, Ferguson kept faith in his academy graduate, before eventually selling Chadwick to West Ham in 2004. Here he is scoring for Stoke in 2006.

2. David Bellion- 10 points

A striker who had great pace, but not a lot else, goes down as one of Ferguson’s greatest flops. The Frenchman, currently at Bordeaux, signed for the Red Devils in 2003 after an impressive one goal in twenty appearances for Sunderland. A very surprising signing, Bellion struggled to break into a team consisting of Ruud van Nistelrooy and Diego Forlan, and left for Nice after scoring a staggering four goals.

3. Kleberson- 20 points

Kleberson was a star of the 2002 World Cup, and was a key fixture in his Brazil side who were eventual winners. So who better to sign as a replacement for the departing Juan Veron in 2003? Kleberson turned out to be even worse than the notorious flop Veron, and made only 20 appearances in two seasons before jumping ship to Turkey.

4. Eric Djemba Djemba- 10 points

The big transfer news of 2003 was David Beckham’s move to Real Madrid, which brought in a fair bit of cash for Manchester United, but left a Beckham shaped hole in the middle of the park. After being linked to the whole world, Ferguson decided to put his faith in the young Cameroonian, “he’s so good they named him twice” it was said. Known as a tough tackler and driving midfield force, Djemba squared was even compared to Roy Keane when he moved from Nantes for £3.5 million. Known for his crunching tackles, and going missing in big matches, Djemba Djemba was restricted to 20 appearances for Manchester United, before leaving for Aston Villa in 2005. This goal against Leeds was the highlight of his spell at Old Trafford.

5. Bebe- 5 points

Ok, you may well remember Bebe as he is still on the books of Manchester United, currently playing his football on loan in native Portugal. It is possible he could come back to Old Trafford a changed man and his two appearances for the Red Devils may not be enough to judge him by. It is rare a player can be completely judged one appearance, but then again his 2010 game against Wolves was so poor questions were being asked of the legitimacy of Bebe’s transfer, with various conspiracies surrounding the Portugese. As this (regrettably low quality) video shows cross after cross was over hit, and although it would be a tough ask to live up to previous Portugese wingers Cristano Ronaldo and Nani- Bebe’s career does seem set to climax in being a pub quiz question rather than a statue

 So how did you do?

0-5 points- A Quentin Fortune standard performance

10-20- League 1 at best

25-45- Not bad, maybe a Dwight Yorke

50- Pretty special, your Man U career would eclipse all the above put together.

 

 Will Mata

Top 5 Emile Heskey moments

Emile Heskey is now playing in Australia, but his legacy still remains on these shores and you can never out-run the internet. Here are my top-five Heskey moments, but do you agree? Please post your favourite moments from the big man below.

5. Some dubbed on commentary accompanies Heskey’s long range shot for Aston Villa against Manchester United. The reaction of the fan afterwards is the best part.

4. Heskey’s greatest asset as a striker was his height, so he would be able to put away an easy header from 3 yards rights? Or at least test the keeper? No, well he at least he would make contact right?

 

3. Never a creative Lionel Messi type of player, Heskey often relied on team-mates to create chances for him using his commanding presence in the box to unsettle opponents. Scoring however proved a much harder task for Heskey, as this video shows. Emile only managed 9 in 92 appearances for Villa.

2. Heskey was perhaps unfairly used as a scapegoat during England’s poor 2010 World Cup campaign, however this attempt didn’t do much for his case.

1. Although often taking much stick as a player, Heskey did prove useful for club and country, and his partnership with Michael Owen formed the attack of England’s ‘golden generation’. The golden generation tag proved to be move of an unwanted tag than an honour for the side, and their 2001 5-1 win over Germany proved to be the pinnacle. Although it was Owen who made the headlines in scoring a hat-trick, the win was rounded off by a smart finish by Emile Heskey.

 Will Mata

Vorm reiterates he is set to stay at Swansea.

With the Swansea’s number 1 contract expiring in 2016, he has been amid a massive media hype and been constantly linked with Liverpool, Arsenal and even Barcelona in recent weeks and months, but he is adamant he will be in Wales next season.

 

With a holiday in Catalonia recently and him admitting to the media he would like to work with previous manager of Swansea, Brendan Rodgers again, now manager of Liverpool, it seems only right his future seems  be thrown up in the air with the actions he has taken as of late. On the other hand, I do not think Vorm is like that and genuinely comes across as a professional and has said he will honour his contract and expects to be a Swansea player at the end of the summer transfer window. Even though he says himself “you never know what happens in football next” but confirms there has been no contact with Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins or Michel’s agent about a transfer for him.

 

With Swansea qualified for the Europa league after winning 5-0 in the Capital One cup, the appeal to stay is greater than it first seems, but I don’t think anyone could bemoan him if he did leave Swansea to join a bigger European club if one of the aforementioned teams does move for him. With Pepe Reina constantly being linked with a move to Spain and Barcelona’s Valdes linked to England, possibly in a swap deal, there could be an opportunity to fit one of those gaps if they do happen. I think a move to Arsenal would be less likely due to Wenger recently coming out to the press and praising Wojciech Szczesny after his return to the first team and rich form. 

 

Find the original story here on Sky Sports

 

Begovic has NOT been sold…yet.

Tony Pulis has come out to the media and dismissed and speculation that Stoke ‘keeper Asmir Begovic, who is target of numerous clubs around the league and Europe, has not already been sold and no pre-contract has been signed with anyone. Surely it’s only a matter of time, though.

 

With an estimation of £15 million and Stoke being right in the heart of the final relegation spot, I cannot see a goalkeeper of that obvious quality staying in the Championship if Stoke do get relegated, and with them playing Sunderland tonight it could be ever closer that the Potters face relegation and in my opinion, Stoke’s player of the season leaves for a more illustrious club.

 

The thing is, at the start of the summer transfer window, Jack Butland will arrive after completing a £4 million transfer in January and being loaned back to Birmingham and he has said he does not want to play second fiddle anymore at the club due to him feeling he is a 1st choice keeper now, and I don’t think Begovic will appreciate being 2nd choice keeper. Unless Butland is loaned straight back out again at the start of the summer transfer window, but it comes across as Butland is a safety net and depending on the status of the club and Begovic, will determine who is the number 1 for next season. Pulis is determined to make a lot of money back on Begovic and is adamant that only a big transfer will trigger him being released.

 

Find the original story here on the Daily Star

 

Is Sinclair on his way out of Manchester City already?

With only 3 starts since his arrival at Manchester City, the former Swansea winger has already become frustrated and seeking a way out already and Leon Britton of Swansea would happily welcome him back to the Liberty Stadium.

 

As a £6.2 million signing to replace Adam Johnson, Sinclair jumped at the opportunity to play in front of 48,000 a week and a huge increase in wages, I think anyone would leap at the chance and I personally do not blame him as he tried to progress his career. Arguably, it could be seen that Mancini likes to have a traditional winger in the squad who likes to cut in, he had Johsnon for a number of years but was inconsistent when he did eventually grab a first opportunity every now and then and left for Sunderland and Sinclair has become a role-player at best, with the ex-Swansea man being through this before when he was a youngster at Chelsea, over 4 year tenure at the London club, he made 5 appearances and ended up being shipped out to 6 different loan clubs in that time.

 

Leon Britton says that him and the rest of the team would happily welcome back the winger who scored 25 goals for the Swans in the Championship and their promotion season, although, it is down to the manager who to sign, I think it could feasibly happen. With De Guzman’s loan deal expiring and him stating he has “no intentions” of returning to Villarreal, it seems the Capital One cup winners are now appealing to players who play in top European leagues, such as La Liga, with the recent influx of Pablo Hernandez, Michu and now De Guzman. I like Sinclair and want to see him play and it doesn’t seem it will be happening in Manchester. 

 

Find the original story here on The Mirror

 

Liverpool to move for Douglas to replace retiring Carragher?

With the impending retirement of Jamie Carragher, a living Liverpool legend, there will be an inevitable gap left in the heart of the defence, and with Brazilian defender Douglas out of contract at the end of the season, he would  be a perfect replacement for Carra’

 

With a seemingly unsettled defence with Skrtel losing his place to a 35 year old Carragher and no other really distinguishable centre backs, Douglas would be an ideal player to fill the void as it comes across that Martin Skrtel appears to have become unsettled in Liverpool. As the target of a £4 million bid from Newcastle last summer and Inter Milan, Douglas has obviously caught the attention of the Premier League and the rest of Europe. With one league winners medal with FC Twente under Steve McLaren’s tenure and over 145 appearances for them, Twente would rather get some money back on the 25 year old but it looks like he will leave on the free. With him never being included in the Brazilian national squad, he applied for Dutch citizenship and got it 2011 and was later included in the Dutch squad in October 2012

 

 

With a remarkably lesser transfer fee in contrast to previous seasons, Brendan Rodgers will have to be dramatically more frugal and with their other defensive targets, Steven Caulker of Tottenham & Ashley Williams of Swansea seem to be out of Liverpool’s price range this season, and this is the team that could splash out £35 million on Andy Carroll, I think the owners of have realised they really do need to control their spending induce stability and gradually return to their former glory.

 

Read the original story here on The Daily Mail

 

This is how good Suarez really is at football

After all the media speculation of how his career at Liverpool may be over, I couldn’t help but think it would be stupid to let him go.
As a huge admirer of his footballing prowess, I’d happily take him at Arsenal as we seek a new centre forward, Liverpool seem to have polished off a gem who is probably the most versatile striker I have seen in my time.
 
Towards the start of the season he was deployed as a lone striker as Liverpool struggled for attacking options due to the loaning of Andy Carroll to West Ham at the start of the season and there definitely was a time where they didn’t have a back up and you could argue Suarez isn’t your typical number 9. He certainly can emulate certain aspects of your stereotypical “gets on the end of balls whipped in” striker but I don’t think he really wants to do it himself. Pat “The Professor” Nevin did a wonderful analytical insight into how Luis wants to play and in fairness to him, he does do the running into channels beyond the shoulder of the last man, but he blends it with an almost Tevez like dropping in between the lines of midfield and defence and isolating a defender and taking him on.
 
With the introduction of Sturridge, who is quickly becoming the centre forward that he wants to become and probably a large majority of England fans want to see, it does free up Suarez to become more of a number 10 almost, with Suarez still holding his weight and being 2nd in numbers of goals scored this season (and probably remaining there due to his lengthy ban for biting Branislav Ivanovic)  and 5 assists this season also, he could become a more well rounded striker next season in the Premier League, if he’s still there, that is. 

 

Undercover fan in Arsenal’s victory at QPR

I was at the QPRArsenal game this weekend, but in the home end when I was an away team fan. I thought I’d give a recollection of how I view the QPR spectrum from an outside perspective on match day.

 

It was the usual train journey to London, crowded and confined into a metal box that bounces at every possible opportunity. I did not see a single football shirt until I got to Clapham junction, where I saw a Fulham fan, I’m pretty sure that is the first Fulham fan I have seen in the “wild” per se. We jumped on the train to Shepherd’s Bush, where a group of Arsenal fans boarded the train instantaneously opening a can of Strongbow each, admittedly, they did come across as a bunch of louts at first sight, but with then erupted into an in depth analysis of the Championship and the teams that were promoted and relegated yesterday, I must admit, they did surprise me just a tad.

 

We turned up to Loftus Road a few hours to pick up our tickets from the box office section on the South Africa road, and surprisingly, it was packed, with hundreds of fans hanging about the gate in which the players arrive to the game. I went into the club shop and it was manic, too, but I presume the all 3 strips of kit being reduced to £20 was a “post-relegation” incentive and it seemed to work.

 

After stopping for a drink at the Springbok which is a home only supporters pub and this is where I viewed the QPR fans in a mass, and they seemed relatively upbeat, no one seemed dour towards the team before the match kicked off, although a few sour opinions were voiced during the actual match, which Arsenal won 1-0 after a goal from Theo Walcott after 20 seconds. The R’s fans were in great voice and I’m not the biggest watcher of QPR and don’t really have anything to compare it to when it comes to other QPR home matches whilst in the crowd but I wouldn’t of been too surprised if they seemed downtrodden after going down 1-0 so early on but they grew into the match with every passing minute.

 

The train home was a general consensus of they will be promoted straight back into the Premier League, Bobby Zamora is useless and they hope they can secure Andros Townsend on loan once again next season from Tottenham, overall, I was very happy with the experience as a whole, great fans, great stadium all the same.