I'm a Front end developer from down south.
This is my intro.

Angular scope in your console


Sometimes it can be really useful to inspect the data you're working with on an Angular build. There are some plugins and extensions to help with this, like the Batarang extension for Chrome.

I prefer to have my scope in my dev tools console while I'm looking at a page. That way I can see how the data changes as I interact with the page, or view the data returned from an API. There's a simple command which lets you do that.


Select an element in Chrome's dev tools, paste that into the dev tools console and hit return. You'll get an interactive model of the scope for the selected element.

Dev tools

AngularJS - ngHide for old IEs


Yeah yeah I know, old IEs are dumb and should be run over by a bus or thrown off a bridge and blah blah blah. But sometimes 20% of your client's users are using IE7, and another 20% on top of that use IE8, so you've got to deal with it.

The trouble is, some pretty basic AngularJS built-in directives don't work in these browsers. In this short post I'll show you how we wrote our own directive to enable us to use ngHide across browsers.

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Simple Check for Old IEs


On a recent project I needed to be able to detect if a user was browsing using IE8 or 7, and serve different functionality to them if that was true.

After looking around a really easy way to do this is to simply check whether the browsers supports the leadingWhiteSpace feature, using jQuery's $.supports method.

if ($.support.leadingWhitespace == false) {
     var oldIE = true;

Old versions of Internet Explorer don't support this feature, and therefore oldIE will be false on these browsers. You could then apply a conditional class to your body tag to style something differently, or write a quick if statement to check the value of oldIE before executing some script for example.

A Couple of Problems I've Found Using Flexbox


I recently tried using flexbox for laying out products in a grid, and came across a few problems. I think the main issue is down to browser support, but there's also some quirks in the implementation that mean I can't quite use it how I would like.

This post summarises the issues I found.

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Responsive breakpoints - It's in the name


I just read this quote in .Net magazine:

“…rather than [device-specific] breakpoints, I’d decrease browser width until things looked broken or cramped, add a breakpoint and repeat…”

Dan Tello

This is what I’ve always done and is exactly the way we should approach making sure responsive layouts behave properly.

I never thought the idea of having pre-defined breakpoints for iPhone, iPad and desktop etc was particularly useful, and in fact it seems much more aligned with an adaptive layout. Even when responsive design was just a baby there were already hundreds of devices with different widths so setting a few different breakpoints has never made sense.

At the end of the day it’s in the name: breakpoint. Find out where your design breaks, then fix it.

Offset the post list in WordPress


Sometimes in your WordPress theme you might want to display a featured post or your latest post in a different way than the rest of the list, to draw more attention to it for example.

All you need to do to make that happen is add offset=1 to a query_posts function, and then go ahead and write your loop to display your post list.

query_posts( 'offset=1' );
while (have_posts()) : the_post();
        <h1><?php the_title(); ?></h1>
        <div class="post-date><?php echo get_the_date('j M Y'); ?></div>

Quickie on CSS weight


In this completely made up and unrealistic example, which version is heavier? This…

.main-nav li,
.main-nav a {
    padding:0.5em 1em;
.main-nav a {


.main-nav li {
    padding:0.5em 1em;
.main-nav a {
    padding:0.5em 1em;
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WordPress – Including Extra Stylesheets


I always thought, just like with any other normal site, that it was fine to stick a call for an additional stylesheet inside my header.php file. But to allow greater flexibility for child themes and also if other developers decide they want to do some tinkering with your theme, it’s actually a lot safer to use wpenqueuestyle (codex page).

Below is how I include a stylesheet for a Google Web Font on this site. The following code goes in functions.php.

function load_stylesheets() {
    wp_register_style('googleFonts', 'http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=PT+Sans:wp_enqueue_style( 'googleFonts');
add_action('wp_print_styles', 'load_stylesheets');

If you need to add more you simply add a new case of both wpregisterstyle and wpenqueuestyle inside your function.

function load_stylesheets() {
    wp_register_style('googleFonts', 'http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=PT+Sans:400,700');
    wp_enqueue_style( 'googleFonts');

    wp_register_style('fortawesome', get_bloginfo('template_url').'/css/font-awesome.css');
    wp_enqueue_style( 'fortawesome');
add_action('wp_print_styles', 'load_stylesheets');

Easy peasy.

jQuery tooltips


Sometimes you might need to give users a bit of extra information about something on your site, but you might not necessarily have the room to do it within your design. One way you could get around that is to show that extra info when an element is hovered.

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Simple Horizontal Nav with CSS


A common feature on almost every website you’ll see is a horizontal navigation menu near the top of the page, listing out the main features or areas of interest of the site. Setting up a nav like this is pretty simple. Start off with your bog standard ul with a list of links.

        <a href="#">Home</a>
        <a href="#">About</a>
        <a href="#">Contact</a>
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Remove an element’s text without removing its descendants using jQuery


One of our older CMSs at work spits out some unwanted pipe (|) characters within the lis of its header menu. For example…

        <a href="#">Page One</a>|
        <a href="#">Page Two</a>|
        <a href="#">Home</a>|

The pipes get added after every anchor. I don’t want them there.

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Why I quite like Luis Suarez


Luis Suarez

If you know that I’m a Man United fan this might come as a surprise, but I’m actually in the minority who actually doesn’t have a problem with Luis Suarez, as a player. In fact, I actually quite like most of the things he does on the pitch.

Sure, he’s so horse-faced that he’d be a decent each-way shout in the National, and he has a bit of the racist about him, but you can’t argue with his footballing ability. I’d have him in my side any day of the week.

He has this attitude where he thinks he’s never beaten until the very last whistle, and until that point he gives all he’s got for his side because he hates losing. Obviously nobody likes to lose, but some people are driven by a fear of failure so huge that they’ll do anything and go to the greatest lengths to try and win. And I think this is the part of Suarez that gets people riled.

The incident the other week where he basically juggled the ball before poking it into an empty Mansfield goal is a prime example. It was an instinctive reaction to jab out his hand, and the most natural thing to do after that was to put the ball into the net. Yet Suarez was condemned from all corners for not stopping the game and owning up to the handball. Some even said he taunted Mansfield by celebrating his goal in the same way as he celebrates every other goal; kissing a tattoo of his daughter’s name on his wrist. It’s blatant ignorant journalism like that which really pisses me off. I’m not a Liverpool fan by any means, quite the opposite, but when the media create total rubbish like that it winds me up.

What the pundits, fans and media need to realise is that Suarez is not the one with the whistle in his hand. He followed the rules of the game by playing to the whistle, and if the referee and linesman have such poor eyesight to miss a handball as clear-cut as that then they shouldn’t have been appointed to the game.

No player in the world would ever stop play and say “sorry chaps, cocked up back there, your free-kick”. It doesn’t happen. You want Suarez to own up and cancel out the goal, so by the same token do you also expect a defender to alert the referee if the ball touches his hand in the box, and give the other side a penalty? Exactly.

I’m going to be a bit controversial now, but you could even say that, technically, the most famous handballed goal ever was not Diego Maradona’s fault, but the officials’. Watching that goal, the handball is obvious, but again it was the officials who gave it. If doing that gives you the lead in a World Cup quarter-final then what would you do? Everyone’s an angel until they’re in the situation themselves. I’d have done the same as Suarez and Maradona if it’d been me.

Another complaint made against Suarez is that he goes to ground a lot. Again it may be controversial, but I don’t really have an issue with players diving. For me diving is a result of the softening of the game over the last 20 years. Players know that referees will give them free-kicks for the slightest contact nowadays, especially when they’re running at speed, so they try to use that fact to their advantage. This is just another example of players trying to win, trying to gain an advantage for their side. Again, it’s the referee who ultimately gives the decision.

I can sort of understand why people want to stamp it out, but there’s no way you can give retrospective red cards for diving, or ban players to try and deter them from diving. Imagine if someone had dived to win a penalty, the ref had given it, and that goal had been the difference between a side getting relegated or staying up. As well as retrospectively banning the player do you also cancel the goal that the penalty resulted in? And then reinstate the relegated team to the higher division? It would be way too complicated to police.

I think people get the hump with diving until it benefits them directly. Ask yourself this: If (and it’s a BIG if) Wayne Rooney won a penalty in a World Cup final which presented England with the winning goal, would you fold your arms and say “nope, I’m not having that, give the trophy back”? Not a chance (unless you aren’t English). People only get so aggy about diving and so called “cheating” until it suits them.

I dislike Suarez as a man, and because he plays for Liverpool, but to go back to my earlier comment I’d have him in my side any day. The reasons why a lot of people hate him as a player are the reasons why I quite like him as a player. He has a burning desire to be the best, to win, and he’ll do what he needs to do to achieve that. Plus, he scored what is one of my favourite goals of recent seasons when he equalised against Newcastle in November last year.

Photo – huffingtonpost.co.uk

Destination: England?



If you believe what you read in the papers, both Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola could soon find themselves in Premier League dugouts. Sunday’s papers stated that a deal to take Guardiola to Man City in the summer was 100% done, while Jose Mourinho has never hidden the fact that he would love to return to the England one day. With Chelsea in need of a new permanent manager and Mourinho’s Real stuttering this season, he may well find himself back at his former club some time soon.

It’s pretty exciting to think that two of best managers in world football could soon both be a weekly fixture here in the English game, but I don’t know if City and Chelsea the best places they could go.

I’ve also been wondering, tell me if I’m being ignorant, but is Guardiola as good a manager as people think? Yes he won a lot of trophies during his time at Barca, but in that two to three year period you could have sat a chimp in the dugout and they would have been just as successful. He was blessed with a squad, littered with superstars, that most managers will never ever get the chance to work with, in what was just his first managerial job.

It remains to be seen whether or not he could take a team and make them play in a style that suits the players at his disposal. A lot has been said about Guardiola’s philosphy or tiki-taka football and how he got his Barca team playing in that short-sharp possession style.


So if you look at all the teams in our league, Arsenal would be the obvious choice for Guardiola as they try to play in the style he’s so closely associated with. It could well be time for a change at the Emirates too. Arsene Wenger seems to be getting more and more reluctant to change his approach and to admit he’s wrong. Signings like Chamakh and Gervinho wouldn’t have been brought to Accrington let alone Arsenal.

He continues to persevere with the passing style of play when in actual fact, I don’t think Arsenal have enough of the right kind of player to do it any more. During their best season of recent times in 07 or 08, they had Fabregas, Nasri, Rosicky, Hleb and a few others who could all play the short game. Now I can’t really see anyone other than Jack Wilshere (who will be wasted as a player if he stays at Arsenal all his career).

Despite it’s association with Pep, the origins of what is now known as tiki-taka was actually implemented at Camp Nou by Johan Cruyff during his spell in charge of the club between 1988 and 1996. Could it just be pure coincidence that as Guardiola took charge, he was able to use midfielders like Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets, Messi; all world class players who have been schooled in that style of play from an early age at the club academy.

So I’d be interested to see whether that style of play is actually Guardiola’s style of play, or whether it is simply the style of play that suited the team he had at his disposal. He seems like a clever guy so I’m sure he’d be smart enough to know that you can’t play the same way at every club and still be successful.

José Mourinho is much more experienced than Pep, and has enjoyed success to differing levels wherever he’s been to date. From my own personal perspective they have completely different styles. I see Guardiola as more of a tactician, a student of the game, and Mourinho as more of a leader of men, whose strength seems to be that he gets players wanting to win for him.

He’s often been linked with the job at Old Trafford, when the day finally comes for Alex Ferguson to retire. As I understand it Ferguson is friendly with both of them, and would recommend both as a possible successor.

Personally I would prefer to see Mourinho in the hot seat at United. I just think that if Guardiola does like to stick to his tiki-taka, it might be a bit single-minded for United. Depending on who we have at the club in any one season our style of play changes to fit, whereas you don’t often see Barca with a plan B. For example we won the league two years ago playing some of the worst football I’ve seen in years. I think that would bother Guardiola more than Mourinho.

At the end of the day though I don’t see either of these men as the kind of people who would be looking for a long term project. Guardiola was at Barca for just four seasons before needing a sabatical, and Mourinho’s longest position so far has been three and a half seasons at Chelsea. Maybe it’s a job for David Moyes. He isn’t as glamorous, but I think it’s time he gets his chance at a bigger club.

Edit: Unfortunately for me, this article was written the day before Pep announced he was joining Bayern Munich this summer. Felt like a good topic to write about at the time, now I look like a berk.

img: footplus.tn

Ballon S'nore


Lionel Messi

Surprise surprise, Leo Messi has won the Ballon D’Or, crowning him the world’s best player, for the fourth year in a row.Messi is probably going to end up going down in history as the greatest player ever to kick a ball, but this year I don’t think he is as deserving of the award as maybe some others are. CR7

I make no effort to hide the fact that I’m a massive fan of Cristiano Ronaldo, and I think he would have been the more deserving winner this year, especially if you look at FIFA’s history of giving the award to the player that has won major honours in a given year.

Kaka won in 2007, Ronaldo in 2008, Messi in 2009. Each year they had guided their teams to Champions League glory. Messi and Ronaldo could hardly be separated last year but Messi won La Liga with Barcelona which probably swung it.

Without getting into stats, last season the two players were neck and neck again. But Ronaldo won La Liga with his club Real Madrid. For me, Madrid winning the league is a greater achievement than Barca winning it.

Impact and Influence

I see the importance of a player to his club is a huge factor in determining how good they are. And I’d argue that Madrid would miss Ronaldo much more than Barca would miss Messi.

Barca have more world class players in their squad, and although Messi is head and shoulders above any of his team-mates in terms of quality, they could replace him with David Villa or Cesc Fabregas if they needed to and still beat most teams comfortably.

Ronaldo gets replaced by Gonzalo Higuain or maybe Jose Callejon if he doesn’t play. Don’t need to add anything to that do I?


The other big thing for me is that Ronaldo scores every type of goal you can think of. Right foot, left foot, headers, free kicks, 30 yard strikes, backheels. A lot of Messi’s goals – whilst very skillful – are really similar.

Ronaldo is an all round athlete. Whereas Messi’s talent is god-given, Ronaldo’s talent has had to be developed, worked on and sculpted from hard work and a relentless desire to be the best.

I’m not stupid enough to say that Messi isn’t an unbelievable player. Like I said he’ll go down as the greatest we’ve ever seen and I really want to get over to Spain so I can tell my grandkids I saw him play. But I wouldn’t have given him the Ballon D’Or this year. Especially in that rascal suit.

Honourable mentions have to go to Robin van Persie and Falcao, who both had stellar years in 2012.

On diving


Ashley Young

I’m a United fan, but I have no problem admitting that Ashley Young dived (dove?) on Sunday to win a penalty and set us on the way to a crucial win against Villa. I also have no problem admitting that I have no problem with diving.

That probably sounds like a United fan trying to justify diving by a player who plays for the team he supports, but let me continue.

All he’s done is try to gain an advantage for his team. There are so many little incidents that happen on a pitch whereby a player uses his brain to try and gain an advantage for his side and this is simply one of them.

For me, diving is no worse that kicking a ball away to waste time, appealing for a goal when you know the ball isn’t anywhere near over the line, or wasting time by walking off the pitch slowly when you’re being subbed late on. What about those dodgy free kicks and corners that are given falsely and lead to goals? Where is the huge media outrage after them?

At the end of the day the referee is the guy who blows the whistle, so if anyone needs to be blamed for Ashley Young getting given penalties then it’s the refs. You could try to impose retrospective bans on players who have been deemed to dive, but there’s often such a fine line between what is and what isn’t a true foul that you’d have a hard job trying to police it.

I will hold my hands up and admit that I’m often found thinking a fully grown man should never buckle under the kind of pressure you see put on players like Sergio Busquets, but in the Spanish football culture he gets away with it. Again you have to say this isn’t his fault – even though he is a massive fanny – because if the referees didn’t go along with his theatrics then he’d soon pack it in. But in cases where a player’s running at full pelt it doesn’t take much of a shove to put him off balance, that’s just plain fact.

You’ve also got to think about how multi-cultural the game is these days. Players come here from all over the world, and they’ve all grown up thinking it’s acceptable to behave in different ways on a football pitch. Is it fair to expect players to change their game all of a sudden? Personally I think it is, but at the same time you can’t have people clattering into each other in the way some ‘old fashioned English’ players do. There’d be no legs left.

Is it cheating? I don’t think so. It’s part of the game. If the authorities were that bothered about diving they’d have done something about it a long time ago. It’s been around for ages, Ashley Young hasn’t invented it in the last few weeks. It’s just the fact that he plays for a big club and has won big decisions at a crucial time of the season which has seen him gain so much attention for it. Ultimately he did get those decisions. So whether or not you agree with what he did – and yes he went down like a complete fairy – I’m sure he won’t care a single bit and neither will his team-mates. He won his team a penalty, a goal, and a huge 6 points at this stage of the season.

Don’t get me wrong, when my team – either United or when I’m actually playing at the weekend – get a dodgy foul given against us I’m livid. But you can’t really blame the players for having a go. You’ve got to blame the refs. If they think there’s been a dive they won’t give a foul, and that’s the end of the story.

For me, if we make football a perfect sport where every single decision is correct by the letter of the law we’d lose something. A good portion of why I love football is the talking points and disagreements it throws up, and the fact that different people can see the same thing in completely different ways. That stays the same from grass roots all the way to the World Cup final, and I hope it stays that way too.

Massey error by Keys and Gray


Sian Massey

Richard Keys and Andy Gray have found themselves in hot water over what they thought were off air comments about a female lino’s ability to officiate.

They thought that their mics were off, and proceeded to tear into Sian Massey with Keys saying “somebody better get down there and explain offside to her”, before Gray replied with “women don’t know the offside rule”. Turns out, Massey knows the offside rule to the letter, as she got a crucial borderline call spot on in the build up to Liverpool’s opening goal against Wolves. It’s good to see that Sky have come down with a punishment on their presenting duo, and maybe they’ll think before they speak next time.

Robbie Savage has today said on twitter that “Sian Massey has been a Lino in some of my derby games , she was exceptionally good”, and “You have to judge the person on ability and decision making” which is exactly right.

Although football is a hugely male dominated sport, and while the male and female games will probably always be kept separate, wherever possible we need to make sure that the best possible people are running the game. If that means that we have a female linesman (whoops, let’s just say lino) or referee then so be it, as long as she is the best person for the job. In my opinion Sian Massey proved herself worthy of her selection the other day.

The women’s game has come on a lot in recent years, and you could argue with some justification that Hope Powell (England Ladies national coach) has been the most successful English manager of the past decade. The upcoming Women’s Super League starting in April will bring the ladies game even further to the fore and probably encourage more girls to take part, which can only be a good thing and I expect we’ll see a lot more women involved in officiating the men’s game in years to come.

We need second yellow appeals


Rafael red card

That’s what I reckon anyway. Clearly it would be foolish to allow the appeal of each and every yellow card that anybody ever gets, but in cases like Rafael’s, where one of the yellow cards is so obviously given wrongly, you should be able to appeal either the first or second yellow card.

Quite often you see cases where a player gets booked for something as small as jumping for a header, and accidentally catching his marker in the head. That isn’t a yellow. Refs need to show some common sense. How are you supposed to jump for a ball without your arms? Kicking the ball away, taking your shirt off to celebrate, accidental handballs, I know that by the letter of the law they are yellow card offences, but it’s a soft contribution to an early shower.

In Rafael’s case, he clearly had his hands up in an “I’m trying not to touch this guy” fashion, as he tried not to touch that guy, Benoit Assou-Ekotto, but ever so slightly clipped his heels and in the process sent Benoit tumbling. The ref had a great view but still decided Rafa needed a yellow and he had every right to feel aggrieved at the decision. I’m not saying it’s right to react as he did, but I’ve seen many others react worse than that when being cautioned for far worse things. Think about it, there were 30,000 odd other people in the stadium on Sunday who are allowed to react in whatever way they choose, yet we expect the people in the thick of things to act like angels.

I just hope the FA decide to be lenient, as Rafael awaits his personal hearing after being charged with misconduct for his behaviour after seeing red. They should just give him a slap on the wrist and be done with it, but i expect they’ll make an example of him.

If my masterplan was in place and clubs were able to appeal a yellow when it has contributed to a red, it’s probably pretty likely that you wouldn’t see these kinds of reactions from players. Rafael probably would have just walked off, still pissed off with the decision, but without hoofing a microphone, and Wayne Rooney wouldn’t have needed to be booked for his dissent either. You can appeal against straight reds, so why not double yellow dismissals.

Basically all I’m saying is, put me in charge of the FA and English football would be a much happier place.

Weird moves


Darren Bent

The next couple of days look like they’ll see the completion of a couple of strange looking transfer deals.

First up is the Darren Bent move from Sunderland to Aston Villa. In any other season you wouldn’t see any reason why Bent wouldn’t want to move to Villa, as in recent years they have been a much better side than the Black Cats. But right now if the deal was done Bent would be signing for a club 11 places below his present team, as Villa currently sit a lowly 17th in the Premiership.

The deal makes perfect sense for both of the teams involved however. Sunderland would be stupid to turn down the reported £20 million fee they’re being offered and, despite Bent being far and away their leading scorer over the past few seasons, they would be able to use the money to find a capable replacement.

That does raise the question of why the fee is so high in any case. I suppose though, when you see players like James Milner moving clubs for £26 mill, and Chris Smalling’s ridiculous £10 million valuation, Bent’s transfer fee is about right for a player of his calibre. Since August 2005, only Rooney and Drogba have scored more Premiership goals than Bent (Bent has 81, they both have 82), and apart from a lean spell at Spurs, he’s scored wherever he’s played. Villa would be getting a top Premiership striker for their money.

I just don’t see his personal footballing motivation behind it. Unless of course, he’s a member of the club of footballers driven by money, which is the most likely explanation.

For me the potential transfer of Steven Pienaar to Spurs from Everton is even stranger. True, Spurs are a Champions League team and have every chance of being so for the foreseeable future. But Pienaar is an important and established player for Everton and he’s playing regular football for a good Premiership team under a great manager. Spurs play Bale on the left, Lennon on the right, and Modric and van der Vaart centrally, so every position that Pienaar could play in is already taken by players who are better than him in my opinion. He’d find it very difficult to start games and even harder to hold down a regular place if he did.

The fee that’s being talked about is just £3 million and I find it incredible that Everton are willing to part with the player for so little. Who can they buy with the same level of talent as Pienaar for that sum of money? It isn’t even like there are a load of players available at the moment.

It’s difficult to class either of these potential transfers as panic buys. Spurs don’t need the player, although he would provide very good cover, and Villa would be investing in a proven talent if they land Bent, as they look set to do. Still, both a bit strange for me.

img: worldsoccertalk.com/

Wazza's got a point


Wayne Rooney

As a Man United fan the events of the past week have been a bit worrying to say the least. The knowledge that your best player, and the finest English player of his generation, wants to leave the club is massive news. It’s gutting, and at first I couldn’t understand it, but the more you think about it the more you realise he does have a point.

Wayne Rooney’s motive for wanting to leave was never going to be about money. First of all he must be earning a packet already, secondly the club offered him a deal which they claimed would make him the highest paid player in the league, and thirdly I just don’t see him as that kind of bloke. True, he’s a bit of a dick when it comes to the way he treats his wife, but you know what I mean. But then you get people on their soap box like Mark Lawrenson saying it’s definitely money oriented, like he has the first idea what’s going on behind the scenes? Nobody does, so it’s not fair to speculate. What I will say though is that if he does want loads of money, bloody give it to him before some other team does! Top players cost top bucks these days, and yes, they are worth it. Man United are one of the biggest clubs on the planet, and to stay that way you need the biggest stars playing for you.

The reason he’s given is a lack of ambition from the club and that he hasn’t been given assurances that the right kind of marquee player will be bought in the near future. And this is where I can agree with Wayne, because in the last three seasons who has been brought in? Luis Antonio Valencia to replace Ronaldo. Ok, he had a decent first season, but just no. Gabriel Obertan? A fading (faded) Michael Owen, Chris Smalling (oh dear god) and who the hell is this tramp Bebe?!

I know the club has massive debts and I don’t want to get into that as I don’t really know enough about it, but when you get £80 million for Ronaldo and the only player that comes into the team is Valencia for £16 million then there’s going to be a few people that start to ask questions. We haven’t had a big signing since Berbatov and he’s now in his third season at the club. He is the only decent player to have come in during a spell where we’ve let Ronaldo and Tevez slip away. The last season they were both at the club they contributed around 40 goals and a huge number of assists between them. It’s no wonder the team is looking toothless at the moment. Man United used to regularly buy big names. Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke, Seba Veron, van Nistelrooy and Rooney himself to name but a few. It doesn’t seem to be the policy anymore. Then again, you can’t really argue with Fergie given his track record. He must have something up his sleeve. And of course I could be made to eat my words if we smash Stoke at the weekend, such is the nature of the game, but at the moment I’m not feeling too optimistic about the rest of the season.

What now for Rooney then? Has he played his last game in a red shirt? I’ve heard a lot of people in the press saying that the other players in the squad will react badly to Rooney’s statement, which they have every right to. From watching this video of their thoughts on it, they seem to be pretty united (no pun intended) in their stance. As a side note, Patrice Evra is ace. It will be quite difficult for him to get on and play in the same way with the team as he has done before. The statement makes no secret of the fact that he isn’t happy with the current squad and the other players will be wondering if he’s talking about them or not. Personally I think he’ll play again as soon as he’s fit. He’s still an awesome player, and it might just take that one magic touch or even a dodgy goal deflected in off his arse for him to feel the passion of the supporters and realise what a massive player he is for the club. Fergie has left the door open this time, unlike for Beckham and Ruud, so there’s every chance Rooney will still be a United player this time next year. I think he will, I bloody hope so anyway.

img: performgroup.com

New kit, new England?


England team

OK maybe it isn’t quite as simple as that, but we can hope can’t we?

First of all, I want to say that I didn’t think England underperformed in the summer, where our dismal displays saw us ranked as the 13th best team out of 32, the nation’s worst ever result at the tournament. But the reason I don’t see that as underperforming is because I don’t actually think we were ever as good as everybody made us out to be in the first place. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t gutted when we lost to Germany though. I was, I nearly cried.

Weight of expectation

The levels of expectation the media puts on the players is ridiculous, especially the current hot topic, Wayne Rooney. The World Cup this year could not have come at a more perfect time for Rooney. He’d just had his best ever club season, scoring 34 goals for Manchester United and rightly being spoken about in the same breath as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Yet for whatever reason it didn’t happen in South Africa. You can’t help but think that these latest revelations about him getting jiggy with a lady of the night were playing on his mind, as well as being away from his baby son for a whole month.

Not knowing what was to happen, we rested all our hopes on Rooney, forgetting that football is a team game. True, England have arguably 3 world class players, and a lot of very good players. The three for me are Rooney, Steven Gerrard and Ashley Cole (all excellent role models I’m sure you’ll agree). But you don’t win games by simply shoving a load of players on the pitch and crossing your fingers. You’d be forgiven for thinking that judging by the nearly flawless qualifying campaign, but maybe Fabio a bit lucky in the fact that we didn’t really have any great teams in our group, bar Croatia. Look at Spain, their team is littered with world class stars right through the team. Casillas, Puyol, Sergio Ramos, Xabi Alonso, Xavi, Iniesta, Villa, Torres. All of them would walk straight into almost any club and national side in the world BUT, they also know how to play as a team. In Spain, the kids are taught to play possession football right from the moment they learn to kick a ball. The same philosophy is used up through all the ages groups and ultimately to the national team. This is why the players know the system so well and why Spanish football is now the pinnacle of the sport, both internationally and, I hate to say it, but domestically too.

Fresh Start

Ok rant over, and on to what this post started off talking about. England have just launched a new kit, first seen in the home game against Bulgaria last Friday. Now, England kits are normally revealed every March or April, so I can’t help but think that maybe this is meant to symbolise a fresh start for the team. If so, it’s not done bad so far. Sure, it’s only been two games, but we won them both comfortably while at the same time using a sprinkling of new players. In my eyes the team has a fresher and quite a different feel to it. Joe Hart has to wear that number 1 shirt for the next decade. God knows it’s time for some continuity between the sticks, which we haven’t had since the seemingly untouchable David Seaman was playing. Phil Jagielka, Gary Cahill, Michael Dawson, James Milner and Adam Johnson have all come in and played and while some of these were due to injuries to other players, they haven’t done themselves any harm at all for the furute. Fat Frank might find it a bit tricky getting back into the midfield of a winning team, especially as I’ve just watched Adam Johnson get his second goal in as many games.

I’m really happy that Fabio has stuck to his word and introduced some new faces to compliment the more talented members of the failed World Cup squad. The midfield has needed a shake up for a long time and I do think Milner and Adam Johnson are here to stay. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we’re suddenly going to turn into world beaters overnight, cos we aren’t, but we’re taking baby steps in the right direction.

Oh, and the kit’s pretty nice too.

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