Tuesday, 25 September 2012

The game isn't played on paper!

Owners should stick to buying oil rather than corrupting our heritage-filled football clubs

Our 'Guest Blogger' James Allen, 

from www.thepiratestale.blogspot.co.uk

Posted by James Allen on September 25, 2012 

Sheikh Mansour. A man worth around £17billion. The name may not be familiar to many, but very familiar to all Manchester City fans, having provided around £300million for club transfers in the period 2008-2012, with the record signing standing at £47million. However Bristol Rovers’ record transfer fee paid in their 129 history is just £375,000 and transfer totals in the period 2008-2012 equating to just £250,000. Bristol Rovers are lingering in basement of league football whilst Manchester City is top of the premier league.

The difference between these two sides? Money… Money creates an uneven playing field in football that wasn’t there just 20 years ago.

How can lower league teams compete with top clubs? Especially when top-flight clubs have 100x the spending power. Quite simply – they can’t. With money you can attract the world’s best players and pay top wages. Obviously money can’t guarantee success instantly… but over time it does. Before the huge investment Manchester City hadn’t won a trophy since 1976 but now have recently won the FA Cup and are currently challenging for the premier league title.

Before 2005 Chelsea had just one trophy since the 1970’s but since the takeover of Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich they have won 10 trophies in the last decade. Money is now fuelling the success of these modern clubs. What’s happened to the days when almost anyone could win a league each season? Are these examples enough to show you how money has ruined the game?

Why do we accept some foreign money-loaded oil tycoon taking charge of our beloved football clubs? Most owners don’t even care about the club, many won’t even attend games and I’m sure if you asked 80% of foreign owners they wouldn’t be able to tell you their past few results. Owners buy our clubs just as money ventures, to waste of bit of their mind-blowing levels of riches on, take up an afternoon one day a week, running it as a business or an investment rather than a football club. These owners are stripping the club’s heart out and charging fans extortionate prices. To avid supporters our clubs are engraved in our blood, we live day in day out just for the weekend to see the players run out on a Saturday afternoon. For money-eyed owners it’s become a gamble with their cash, to see how much they can make and I for one have had enough of them toying with our football club’s heritage and future.

Fulham’s season tickets rose a massive 32.98% in comparison to last season, they haven’t been promoted and they haven’t won any trophies. Why should loyal fans accept such a drastic rise in prices? How can the club justify the rise? Devoted supporters are being ripped off out of their hard earned cash just so that the club can drain more riches for their ‘more money than sense’ owners.

Since 1985, average top division wages have risen from £25,000 to £1,100,000, a growth of 440%; with players potentially earning as much as £200,000 a week. This wage is by no means equal to the level of work that they do. Footballers may run out in front of 40,000 fans every week and are often very talented at what they do but when you compare footballer’s earnings to firemen, you can see how absurd their salary is. Footballers don’t deserve their earnings. Footballers are grown men and all they do is kick an air-filled ball around a grass field. How do they deserve double the yearly earnings of a fireman in a week? Top-flight footballers don’t put their body on the lines, they aren’t risking their life, they aren’t even providing a vital service. I know for a fact that everyone footballer couldn’t come off the pitch saying they’d given it their all in every game that they’ve played, that’s if they even make it onto the pitch. Carlos Tevez rejected the chance to play for Manchester City in the champions league; instead he sat on the bench claiming he wasn’t in the right frame of mind. Right frame of mind? Unbelievable! Tevez is playing on the world stage, getting paid mind-blowing amounts of money and he doesn’t think he can kick the ball around for 40minutes. I certainly know I could. Imagine if a fireman walked up to a blazing house and decided that he couldn’t be bothered to put the fire out. Footballers should see what soldiers and emergency services are put through to earn a fraction of what their wages. Then footballers would know what earning money really means.
Cheating, deception and diving. Three words not always associated with football but words that are now on the tip of many fans mouths after watching games. With the influx of foreign players in the last decade, the game has changed forever; mainly for the worse. With the introduction of new players, they brought with them some extremely irritating habits which undoubtedly have ruined our beautiful game: diving and simulation. Why are players attempting to con the referee in order to gain an advantage? They throw their bodies onto the floor in a theatrical manner. It seems as if modern footballers have lost their pride; shouting and throwing their arms into the air in pain, who could blame them? After all they had just been brushed on the shoulder.

Nowadays players fall down when they get touched; some of them should swap sports and do it off a springboard. It’s embarrassing to watch. Viewers could be forgiven for believing that a player had just been shot by a sniper, high in the stands. Footballers need a reality check. As honest players watch others dive and gain an advantage, trustworthy players are left wondering why they wouldn’t do similar things. And many have started too, more and more players have resorted to falling over to try and cheat their way to victory.

Foreign players have massively reduced the growth of young English talent. Instead of a young local footballer getting his first start, the English youth been left waiting and waiting as clubs have bought more experienced players, thus pushing local footballers further and further down the leagues. In the premier league 64% of all players are foreign, in contrast to the English League Two where just 23.5% of players are foreign, showing how drastic the effect of foreigners has been on stunting English football players’ ability growth. Our nation’s youths have been forced further down the leagues to get match experience in lower leagues rather than making the breakthrough in top divisions.

Arsenal symbolize the mass arrival of foreign players. In the 1989-90 seasons Arsenal had just two players born abroad, whereas in 2009-10 season they had 23 born abroad. We should be aiding our nation’s young English talent, not leaving them to ‘rot’ on the bench, especially as the players taking their places can barely speak even the basics of our language. There is enough talent in our own country if top-flight managers would just open their eyes, wake-up and give youths a chance. Why should our nation allow foreign players the potential to improve over our own? The basics have to change or England will be left behind in the international game.

Money has the crippled the game. It has turned it from an honest leisure activity to high stakes, high earning prima donna’s conning the referee into making bad decisions.

Clubs should be restored to their former glory days when 80% of a team line-up would be home-grown, a day when clubs made their success – not bought it. The days when players would be tackled 4 or 5 times in a row yet still carry on defiantly and when money wasn’t the motivation for players but instead the love of the game.

Check out www.thepiratestale.blogspot.co.uk 
 for more football blogs from James Allen, Also follow on twitter @JamesAllen_17

If you would like to be a 'guest blogger' please email us at info@soccersearchuk.com :)

Saturday, 8 September 2012

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Our 'Guest Blogger' George Vaughan, 

follow him on Twitter @georgecvaughan
Posted by George Vaughan on September 8, 2012 

The Good The Bad, and The Ugly 

- Premier League Transfers 2012 

As with any football fan, the transfer window is a hugely exciting time. Some even refer to transfer deadline day as better than Christmas, but I wouldn’t go that far; unless you were a West Ham fan that time they got Tevez and Mascherano, that was impressive. There is always so much gossip about players leaving here,  going there, for the price of half of Kenya...let’s be honest most of these aren’t true in the slightest but it gives us football fans something to talk about. Instead of the fictional gossip that has less truth about it than Arsene Wenger’s post match interviews, (Michael Owen to Wolves – whatever!), I’m going to look at some of the real transfers over this summer and assess which ones I think will turn out to be gems and which ones I think carry more risk than Prince Harry going out in Vegas, naked.

The Good
Santi Cazorla – Arsenal £16.5m
With all of the negative vibes surrounding the departures at the Emirates at the moment, there is one shimmer of hope. That is Santiago Cazorla. Being part of the Spain Euro 2012 winning squad he has to be good?! And he is. I always thought of him as a winger in his days at Villareal, but watching him play in the season opener against Sunderland he was a real bright spark playing in an advanced central midfield role. I don’t think he gave the ball for the first 30 minutes, and when he finally did it was only due to a poorly taken corner.
As Lee Dixon likes to define a good player, Santi has ‘wing mirrors’. He knows everything that’s going on, is super sharp and can put the ball wherever he wants.
The only issue I can see is that he is 5’6 and may not be so effective in the more physical games, only time will tell.
Eden Hazard – Chelsea £32m
Had I written this before the first week of Premier League matches, some explaining may have had to take place. But 5 assists in your first two games for a club is simply brilliant. This guy is only 21 and he looks the full package. Pace, ball control, enough confidence to restore the Greek Economy (probably not but it’s a good metaphor) and a bonus...he doesn’t writhe around in pain when the inevitable foul comes his way. Eden is the spearhead of the Belgian revolution, their national team will be dynamite soon.
Shinji Kagawa – Manchester United £17m
I had only really known about this Japanese maestro through FIFA, this guy was amazing on the game as a Borussia Dortmund player and it turns out FIFA wasn’t wrong. This is the sort of player than United have craved since the ingenuity of Ronaldo and Tevez departed, a playmaker in the purest sense. 17 goals and 13 assists last season speaks for itself, there is no doubt this guy will be influential if United are to win the league this season.
Park Ji-sung – Queens Park Rangers £2.5m
If Park can play anywhere near the level he did at United, QPR have got a real bargain. Mark Hughes has already instated him as club captain, not really a surprise given his wealth of Champions League experience. You want your captain to be a leader, not a headbutter (Joey Barton) and Park will set the greatest of examples to the rest of the squad with his machine like work rate. I don’t really like QPR but they have made some good signings this year and if they can gel, annoyingly they should stay up.
Adam Jonhson – Sunderland undisclosed
The second Adam Johnson moved to Manchester City it frustrated me. Here we go again, yet another bright English talent left to lose any ability he previously had, sitting on the bench. If you understand fantasy football, this guy’s points per game ratio was impeccable! Whenever he played for The Citizens (are they still called that?) he’d score or assist. A real talent that personally I think should have gone to the Euros. Having lived up the North East before playing for Middlesborough, Johnson will be fine and I’m expecting his career to find a new lease of life, for the sake of our National team we should all hope so.
Gylfi Sigurdsson – Tottenham £8m
I’ve been a lover of Gylfi since his young days at Reading in the Championship, he has bags of quality and scores when he wants. His half season loan at Swansea last year was excellent, another high scorer on fantasy football! I had hoped the Icelandic was going to follow Brendan Rogers to Liverpool, as he wouldn’t have to prove himself to get into the team; he will still do well at Spurs providing AVB can find a way to fit him in with VDV and Modric who’s departure may well be imminent. With better delivery than the Royal Mail, Gylfi could help fire Spurs to a top four finish.

The Bad 
Olivier Giroud – Arsenal £12m
Big striker that has done exceptionally well in the French league. Where have Arsenal heard that before? Chamakh. I really hope Giroud isn’t a Chamakh but given Van Persie’s departure and Wenger’s ridiculous suggestion that Arsenal won’t be replacing him, there will be a lot of pressure on this man and Podolski to get the goals. I can’t see Giroud providing them. Yes he’s a big man and can finish, but I can only think of one half decent crosser that Arsenal have: Bacary Sagna, and he’s injured as it is. Ok, maybe Oxlade-Chamberlain too but certainly not Walcott or Gervinho. I worry that Arsene will Gi-rue this signing.
Joe Allen – Liverpool £15m
I actually think this is a good signing. But not for 15 Million British Stirling Pounds! Before last season Joe Allen was unheard of, yes he can play a good pass and keep possession but is he really twice as good as Gylfi Sigurdsson? No. He is British and overpriced, just how Liverpool like their players. I still can’t get over £20m for Jordan Henderson.
Robert Green – Queens Park Rangers free
Why have QPR signed Rob Green when it seems that Julio Cesar is on his way? Given his blunder on opening day, along with the other 4 goals he conceded it probably is the right move for The Hoops. I feel bad for Rob because he’s not had it easy since the 2010 world cup, but he’s doing himself no favours here. Chocolate wrists some say, and this signing may turn out to be as useful as a chocolate teapot. 
Emile Heskey – Unattached
This is not good enough. Surely there’s a Premier League team that needs a tad more revenue. Sign Heskey and shirt sales will go through the roof! Of course he is an excellent player too...if you’re not looking for goals.

The Ugly
Wherever Joey Barton goes! After his ridiculous escapades at the close of last season, I think he should  have been banned from football. Aside from his behaviour on the pitch, his twitter profile is annoying too. One word comes to mind, pretentious. You’re not intelligent don’t pretend you are! If he does have to go somewhere please send him back to Manchester City so he can have a much desired bout with the clown that is, Mario Ballotelli.

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Thursday, 30 August 2012

Belgium's Under Performing Side

Our 'Guest Blogger' James Allen, 

from www.thepiratestale.blogspot.co.uk

Posted by James Allen on August 30, 2012 

Belgium's under performing side

It’s that time of the year again; the summer transfer window. When players are rumoured to be signing for 4 different clubs at the same time. Every year there’s one club that’ll overspend, or find the next big thing. However it’s very rare to see such a drastic move of one nationality of players within one transfer window. A total of 5 Belgian players have either transferred to/or within the Premiership this window, joining 9 other Belgian players already playing their trade in the top English league. So why is there such demand for Belgian players at the moment? It’s not hard to see why when classy players such as Hazard, Mirallas and Vertonghen were playing very well in seemingly‘weaker’ leagues, they grabbed the attention of larger clubs and since have moved on. There is no doubt the Premiership will be a much tougher test for these new Belgian players but there is no question in my mind that they will be a success not only in the long term but also the short term. 

So why is Belgium ranked just 53rdin the world? This current Belgian team have real quality throughout the pitch; it’s a mystery as to why they aren’t performing well internationally. They haven’t qualified for the past five major tournaments, most recently Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine. Belgium have a very strong defence including Vermaelen, Kompany and Vertonghen, three of the best defenders in not just the Premier League but world football. In central midfield they have Witsel, Defour, Fellaini and Dembele who all like to be on the ball and are very talented passers. Fellaini and Witsel prefer to hold in midfield intercepting opposition attacks whilst Dembele likes to play a more advanced role in behind the strikers, Dembele was a real creative force for Fulham last year and earned himself a 15million pound move to Tottenham. Despite Dembele being an attacking central midfielder last season of all the players- in every position, not just central midfield, only Yohan Cabaye (116 tackles) attempted more tackles than Dembele (113 tackles). Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that Dembele, with 86 successful tackles, won more tackles than any other player in the Premier League last season. As you can see, these four midfielders complement each other very well and are a well-balanced quartet.
Kompany - One of the best players in the Premiership last season

Belgium have some incredible attacking widemen such as Hazard, Mertens and Mirallas. All three are brilliant dribblers of the ball and are dangerous players. Hazard has started impeccably for Chelsea, making 6 assists and scoring once in his first three games for Chelsea. One highlight of Hazard’s play is his agility; he can turn with the flick of a switch causing real problems for defenders, who more often than not are much slower than Hazard. Last year for Lille Hazard scored 20 goals in 38 games and assisted 15 times. A record 90% of out and out strikers would envy. Mirallas and Mertens also possess similar qualities, pace and trickery being main features in both of their games. 

Belgium have Lukaku to turn on in the striker position. Lukaku is strong, fast and great in the air; he is a handful for any defender purely because of his immense strength. The only question mark over Lukaku is his pedigree and experience, especially when Belgium don’t have a wealth of forwards to fall back upon. 
Not only is Belgium’s first eleven strong but they also have strength in depth, with De Bruyne, Mertens, and Courtois gaining an avergage of just 5.6 caps each.

Is the future bright for Belgium? One would assume so. The majority of Belgium’s players are young, or coming into the peak of their careers. The average age of their last squad was just 24.58 years old which is a good mix of experience and youth. Their key players are even younger than the average age with Mirallas (24) Fellaini (24) Lukaku (19) Hazard (21) Witsel (23) and Mignolet (24). All six players still are a long way from being the finished article with lots of room for growth, which must excite Belgian fans massively. Belgium also have Vermaelen (26) and Kompany (26) coming into the prime years of their career where they'll be performing at their best. You have to say in 3 or 4 years time Belgium should really be inside the top 25 teams in the world when they have such quality players to call upon. 

A potential Belgium line-up. Surely better than 53 rdin the world?

Check out www.thepiratestale.blogspot.co.uk 
 for more football blogs from James Allen, Also follow on twitter @JamesAllen_17


If you would like to be a 'guest blogger' please email us at info@soccersearchuk.com :)

Saturday, 11 August 2012

The Next Brazil Number '10'

Our 'Guest Blogger' Nathan Davis, 

from www.journeymanandco.blogspot.co.uk 

Posted by Nathan Davis on August 11, 2012 

The next Brazil number ‘10’

Much of the hype surrounding Brazil’s Olympics squad has centred on their new number ‘10’ who goes by the name of Oscar dos Santos Emboada Junior, commonly known as “Oscar”. Born on the 9th September 1991 in Americana, this young attacking midfielder dubbed the ‘new Kaka’ is aiming to lead Brazil to Olympic gold at London 2012. He’s only been in London just over a week and already European Champions, Chelsea, have splashed out a whopping £25 million to secure his signature. So, in Brazil’s 3-1 victory over a spirited Belarus side at Old Trafford, the spotlight was on Oscar to see what Chelsea’s millions have acquired.   

(Oscar, wearing his former club Internacional colours for the last time) picture obtained from www.freshfootball.co.uk

Brazil’s tried and trusted 4-2-3-1 formation is perfectly suited to Oscar’s style of play. He operates in the middle of the attacking three midfielders which provides him with the freedom to roam and collect possession in various areas of the pitch. In the knowledge that the two holding midfielders will provide the defensive cover and maintain team shape. This freedom also allows him to showcase his spatial awareness as he regularly drifts in between the opponent’s midfield and defensive lines. On receiving the ball, his first instinct is always to turn quickly and look to penetrate the defence with either a precise pass or a quick dribble and shot combination. 

Oscar’s slight physique means he is very nimble and a fast change of direction that often sees him evade challenges and close marking. He is very adept at receiving the ball when under pressure from defenders in tight areas of the pitch due to his excellent first touch and quick footwork. But most importantly, he has that bit of Brazilian flair and trickery that can beat a defender in an instinct. 

Individual Ability Grade:
Shooting: 8 out of 10
Passing: 8.5 out of 10
Tackling: 7.5 out of 10
Heading: 6.5 out of 10
Dribbling: 9 out of 10
Pace: 8 out of 10
Vision: 8 out of 10

Oscar and Brazil teammate, Neymar, have established a real cohesion and appreciation of ether others game that has created many goals. 

(Oscar and Neymar celebrate a goal for Brazil) picture obtained via

The verdict: 
On first inspection many football supports may feel Chelsea spending a vast amount of money on a player largely unknown is somewhat of a gamble. But, Oscar’s many talents will suit the Premier League and ensure that he soon becomes a familiar name. One of which we all will be embedding in our fantasy football teams come August!

By, Nathan Davies

(Thiago Silva congratulates both Neymar, and Oscar for sealing victory at Old Trafford) picture obtained via www.dailymail.co.uk  

for more football blogs from Nathan Davis, Also follow on twitter @journeymanandco 


If you would like to be a 'guest blogger' please email us at info@soccersearchuk.com :)

Monday, 16 July 2012

Can Football Manager Be Used As A Scouting Tool?

Our 'Guest Blogger' Tomas Moseley, 

from www.playedoffthepark.net 



Sports Interactive’s Studio Director – Miles Jacobson

I would like to start off by saying I know this sounds stupid, as it’s a game, but hear me out!

This will be quite a small post, as it’s just a thought I used to have and after reading a recent interview with Miles Jacobson, I’ve been thinking about it again. Could, the game, Football Manager be used as a scouting tool?
In a recent interview, Miles said
“If you look at the person who’s currently being regarded as the best (scout) in the Premier League, Graham Carr at Newcastle, who spotted a bunch of French players that anyone who’s played Football Manager over the years knew of ages ago”
He definitely has a point, many players who have recently come into the spotlight, have been spotted years before on Football Manager, most people would agree. It is, technically, a huge scouting network, with hundreds of researchers assessing players before they go into the game, so the person who uses the database has lots of different opinions on one player, which, theoretically, means it should be relatively accurate.
A good example of this, for me, is Robert Lewandowksi. He has recently had lots of attention due to a good season with Dortmund and playing quite well at EURO 2012 with Poland, but for all my friends telling me about him, I feel as though they’re late, as he was a Football Manager 2008 legend, playing for Lech! So, I’ve looked out for him since then.
Everton currently are the only team to officially use the database, and they have uncovered some gems to be honest. Which could be a sign that it works, or it’s coincidence and they didn’t spot them through that. There’s no way of knowing, unless they’ve publicly said or you’re part of the ‘team’. But, I’m sure avid Football Manager fans will rush to praise football manager!
Now, there’s no guarantee of it being good though. A player could be amazing in real life and awful on the game, and vice versa. There’s a lot of players like that, everyone’s had them. There’s players that were tipped to be world beaters in Football Manager a few years ago, who now, are nowhere to be seen, which is probably, unfortunately, the majority. As it is a game, it’s impossible for it to predict 100% accurately.
Overall, I think teams should use the database, mainly to save money. They can use the database and target specific players, then go and further investigate to save money, so not buy solely on the game. I think low-budget clubs can find players in obscure countries on the game, then go to a couple of games and what-not in real life, as it’s cheaper than going to any old game in hope for any player, you’re going specifically and more efficiently. I’m not saying it’s an amazing, revolutionary tool that will answer all teams problems, if they want to find gems, but, used along side a traditional scouting team,  I think it could be a useful tool.
There are risks for this and most managers would not use, as it’s a game! But it’s just a thought I had, and was wondering what others views are on it, so, what do you think?

Check out www.playedoffthepark.net for more football blogs from Tomas Moseley, Also follow on twitter @playedofthepark 

If you would like to be a 'guest blogger' please email us at info@soccersearchuk.com :)

Monday, 9 July 2012

Our First Event

Our First Event!


Our first 'Soccer Talent Search' Event was a huge success! All the players thoroughly enjoyed it. It was great to see so many scouts from top local clubs attending. 

As well as local players, we had players attending from France, Holland, USA and Trinidad & Tobago. Due to the success of our first event, we are currently in talks with Merseyside Youth Association to confirm dates for a 12 yrs - 16 yrs event and a second 16 yrs - 24 yrs event (dates will be confirmed soon, but will more than likely be taking place towards the end August). 

It was good to see some of the lads faces when Sammy Lee (ex Liverpool and England international) turned up to check the talent and offered a few words of wisdom to players... It was even funnier when Jesper from Holland didnt know who he was and the other players had to Google him to tell him exactly who he was!! :) 

Not only was this event a sucess from our (Soccer Search UK) point of view, but its great to see lads from different countries becoming mates (Charlie 'The Scouser' and Dakota 'Mr USA') and keeping in touch with each other even after the event has finished... Football brings people together. 

It was a pleasure working with Tom (our Coach) and it was great to hear so many nice comments from the players about him... especially after he worked them so hard throughout the week.

On a final note, to all the players involved in our last event... Dont worry, you will alll be receiving your profiles, copies of our video footage and photos of you guys playing. The phone app will be ready soon (hopefully within the next two weeks) where you can keep up to date with all things 'Soccer Search' and download your pictures and videos! 

 "Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, 
I am very disappointed with that attitude. 
I can assure you it is much, much more important than that."
 - Bill Shankly