About Me

Football purist, realist and general sports fanatic. Interested in all aspects of the game, from all corners of the earth.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

All Hail The King

West Ham’s former club photographer Steve Bacon tells a tale about Alan Pardew from his time at Upton Park that fits perfectly with the current Crystal Palace manager’s public persona.

During a pre-game staff meal before a clash with Sunderland Pardew lay down the law on the monarch system he favours when at the helm.

“When the gaffer sat down with his backroom team deciding on his order, he asked fitness coach Tony Strudwick what he was getting and told him he’d take it if it looked good”.

Available at: http://www.blog.fantasy5live.com/2015/03/06/alan-pardews-real-talking-being-done-on-the-pitch/

City's Sole Twinkling Star

If one game encapsulated Manchester City’s tendency to stall when confronted by the opportunity to prove they are a side marching towards the top of the sport it was their home defeat at the twinkling toes of Barcelona last week. Over the course of the ninety minutes the Citizens’ limitations worryingly reared their ugly heads.

Available at: http://www.blog.fantasy5live.com/2015/03/06/man-citys-limitations-continue-to-be-exposed/

Anger Mismanagement

The idea that anger is an emotion that will haze an athlete’s perception and affect their performance negatively is a flawed one.

Anger, as Roy Keane discussed in his most recent autobiography, is a form of energy which, utilised correctly, can spur a footballer on; it can increase the workload on the individual and the determination within that makes death appear a more appealing outcome than defeat.

The basketballer Kobe Bryant speaks about this in his documentary Muse which is released this weekend. The American, who was reared in Italy as his journeyman father Joe bounced from club to club, suffered when he was dropped into US education after the family returned in 1991; basketball was his release. 

Available at: http://www.blog.fantasy5live.com/2015/02/26/joey-barton-anger-management-and-a-bit-of-context/

Old Trafford one Giant Advert

Louis Van Gaal’s press conferences over the course of his career have consisted mainly of him discussing his famous ‘philosophy’. During his second spell in charge of the Netherland’s national team he mentioned how “names matter to the media but not to me”. Van Gaal, in his words, “continually plays players who best fit the team; never those who are just big names”.

When the Dutchman sat down to be interviewed for the first time as Manchester United manager during the club’s pre-season tour to the United States, he summed up his philosophy in one straightforward sentence.

Available at: http://www.blog.fantasy5live.com/2015/02/14/forward-looking-van-gaal-stuck-in-the-past-with-strike-partnership/

Tony Pulis: The Master of Survival

In 2010 the Donna Louise Children’s Hospice gathered a group of minor celebrities to tackle one of the earth’s Seven Summits as a means to raise funds for the Stoke based charity.

The idea of tackling Mount Kilimanjaro is daunting at the best of times; at the worst of times it’s harrowing. Inclement weather afflicted Northern Tanzania during the week of the climb; locals claimed it was the worst in the region in five years. A blizzard wrapped around the mountain, plunging temperatures south of minus twenty degrees Celsius.

Available at: http://www.blog.fantasy5live.com/2015/02/12/tony-pulis-proving-to-be-the-perfect-fit-for-west-brom/

Fueled on Hate

Jose Mourinho wasn’t even watching the television but he already had his ammunition. After a pulsating second leg of Chelsea’s Carling Cup clash with Liverpool, the Portuguese felt the need to intensify the siege mentality he’s been brewing at Stamford Bridge since his side were held to a draw against Southampton during the festive period.

“There is a ‘campaign’ on the television”, Mourinho sermonised, “with a certain pundit that is saying: ‘Diego Costa crimes.’ This guy must be nuts. The guy that is saying that”.

Available at: http://www.blog.fantasy5live.com/2015/02/03/jose-mourinhos-vexation-only-solidifies-chelseas-resolve/

The Broken Clock and his Scapegoat

We may never know how Brendan Rodgers ended up with Mario Balotelli in his squad. Perhaps the Northern Irishman issued an ultimatum to the Fenway Sports Group. Perhaps they saw through this act, called his bluff and decided to pursue the Italian anyway, forcing Rodgers to back down. Perhaps the Liverpool manager was politically savvy enough to avoid engaging in a political battle against men who have more experience than him.


We do know two things however; firstly, Brendan Rodgers would have preferred to finish the summer short of attacking options than with Balotelli on board. Secondly, Brendan Rodgers is not a proud man.