Beckham. Gascoigne. A mile apart.

imagePaul Gascoigne is 45 years-old and is currently in rehab in America, for what seems like the fiftieth time. Affectionately called ‘Gazza’ by adoring Newcastle and England fans, he is considered one of the greatest English footballers of his generation, unfortunately I was too young to see him in his peak. Due to my age, my only knowledge of ‘Gazza’ seems to have been watching his decline and struggle with alcoholism on the news. Apart from the occasional playback of his deft-touch, skinning Scotland’s Colin Hendry, and leaving him for dead.

David Beckham is just eight years younger and is 37 years-old. He has just signed for his fourth permanent team; Paris Saint Germain. Donating his entire £3m wage to local children’s charities in Paris. I have been fortunate enough to have seen Beckham in his prime. From his half-way line goal against Wimbledon, when was very young. To his wonder-strike free-kick against Greece, that every England fan must remember.

What I am trying to get at is; despite only eight years difference, they are light years apart in their lives. Yet they have both enjoyed being fantastic footballers. The only difference is that Gascoigne unfortunately suffered from a weakness to alcohol. Meaning their entire careers have diverted in completely different directions.

I have always been a staunch believer that alcoholics have nobody to blame but themselves. Itis their weakness that leads to the addiction.

However, with Gazza, my opinion is weakened.

This is largely because of the fact that Gazza suffered with his footballing career coming to an end. He ate, drank and breathed football. Only, at the age of 31 for someone to take that away from him. Waking up one morning and realising his skills, pace and control was leaving him. Making him and older footballer, compared to the Beckham’s, Owen’s and Fowler’s that were starting to make big names for themselves. Gazza couldn’t understand that this was it.

His weakness to the bottle got worse and worse, and we all know the rest.

I here you say ‘but Brian Clough got injured at a similar age, and knew he would never play again, yet he made himself a legendary manager why should we feel sympathy for Gazza’.

You should.

People have different feelings, different emotions and different weaknesses.

He has once again submitted himself, voluntarily into rehab. You can see he wants change.

We need to support one of England’s most skilful players ever. A legend.

Mancini on his way out?

Every transfer window since Manchester City have had major money, it is hijacked by their expressive spending. I was expecting more of the same, but as it was quiet throughout, and with Balotelli leaving, I personally expected a late ‘Robinho-esque’ move.

But no.

Roberto-Mancini-manchester-city

Manchester City didn’t make a move. Despite being seven points behind local rivals Manchester United.

Does this show that Roberto Mancini has faith in his squad’s ability?

Or does it show that Mancini is being told to curb the spending?

If so, perhaps Roberto may be allowed to worry for his own future come the summer.

Champions League – Failed to pass group-stage.
League – Currently seven points clear of regaining their title.

Tra; Scarf-Man.

I bloody love deadline day.

Transfer Deadline Day.

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For some clubs’ fans it will be a day of celebration at signing a player that could turn your season around, or give you a stable push towards success.

For others it is another day of disappointment; signing nobody, selling nobody.

Ian Holloway is constantly critical of it, calling it a “farce” and such like.

But what I want to know, is do you the fans of these clubs actually support the decision to have windows in football, and not have transfers all year long. Or would you prefer a free open season, allowing teams to buy players whenever possible.

Personally, deadline day is a day where my twitter feed goes mad, and I love it. Or, at least I have more recently since Crystal Palace have had some money and aspirations. Unlike a couple of years ago, when Deadline day was just a constant worry that another key player would leave, making the seemingly never-ending relegation scrap even harder.

I bloody love deadline day. Click the link below to vote.
 

Transfer Windows, Yes or No?

‘Arry and Crouchy.

Peter Crouch is 6ft 7″.

Peter Crouch has 22 England goals, in 42 Englands games.

Peter Crouch total transfer fee’s total £43,560,000.

Now, Queens Park Rangers want to make an offer for Crouchy once more. To perhaps, tip his transfer fees over the £50m threshold. The manager that is after his services, is once again, Harry Redknapp, whom Crouch has played for on four different occasions.

Firstly at Portsmouth; 37games 18goals. Next at rivals Southampton; 18games 12goals. Then again at Portsmouth; 38games 11goals. Most recently at Tottenham; 73games 12goals. A total of; 166games 53goals. So near to a ratio of 3games 1goal.

With QPR desperately looking to bolster their team’s depth, whilst in the relegation dog-fight they are embroiled in, Harry has looked to a consistant performer. A consistant goalscorer. A consistent threat.

Peter Crouch scores goals.

Can this be he signing that saves QPR’s season. You tell me.

 

Mario Balotelli? Long live Paul Scholes.

I am sitting here looking at twitter and BBC Sport looking to see if Crystal Palace spend some of the Zaha money, in order to secure the battle for promotion to the Premier League.

Upon looking at twitter, I see Mario Balotelli has left the Premier League champions to join AC Milan.

Balotelli has proven to English football fans, that he is a newspaper editor’s dream, just like Jose Mourinho was/is. However, Balotelli crossed the borders to become a bad example to the schoolchildren, that idolise footballers and repeat their behaviour on the school pitch or the local park. Jose Mourinho didn’t/did.

From setting fireworks off in his bathroom, to throwing darts at a youth team player. He even drove into a women’s prison in Italy in order to “have a look around”.

This example of a footballer is a far-cry from the likes of Paul Scholes. A man long-ignored by the British media. A man whom 99% of the English public would not be able to recognise his wife. And a man who has been called the “greatest midfielder ever” by Barcelona legend Xavi.

This is the type of footballer that schoolchildren should look up to, should replicate and should aspire to be. Not arrogant, overpaid and immature men. That, if it wasn’t for football, and the furore that comes hand in hand with the role, would possibly be in prison, or on a route towards it.

In my opinion, Mario Balotelli leaving the Premier league is the best thing that can happen for the 4-16 year olds of this country. Long live Paul Scholes.

The magic is rekindled for the cup.

My earliest memory of the FA Cup is when I was nine years-old. Wycombe Wanderers under the young, supposed ‘up and coming’ manager Lawrie Sanchez had a memorable 2-1 victory against Leicester City at Filbert Street with Sanchez watching his side’s last gasp winner on a portable tv in the changing rooms, as he had been sent off earlier in the match.

The magic and instant admiration of the ‘underdog’ was born inside me. I had only recently began to watch football properly , and no longer bore my Dad by asking him to put Cartoon Network on instead of the Super Sunday.

This team whom I was watching were unbelievable, the stalwart goalkeeper especially, a thirty-five year old Martin Taylor, (who would a year later move to my local side Burton Albion) was saving everything, and his passion was screaming out of his body.

I believe it was this game that got me hooked on football.

Throughout the next ten years of my life I cannot remember an FA Cup game that has attracted my attention as much as that famous day. Each year there would be the occasional upset, but no long run. No major giant-killing. No underdog that attracts every neutral’s attention.

However, is 2013 different?

In the League Cup this year we have Bradford City, now in League Two, the bottom division of English football, against Premiership opposition Swansea. Having beaten; Wigan, Arsenal and Aston Villa in the process already.

The FA Cup this season seems to have also had more upsets for along time.

Brentford being six minutes away from a famous 2-1 victory over Chelsea, had it not been for Torres’ equaliser so late in the game, to take it to a money earning replay for the bees.

Oldham Athletic, struggling in League One face an in form Liverpool side, and beat them 3-2.

Luton a non-league team beat Norwich City at Carrow Road 0-1 and progress to the fifth round.

I feel for the first time in a very long time, that the magic, so long associated with the FA Cup, has resurfaced and can now let a whole new generation of children watching football with their Dad’s, enjoying that bond that is unlike any other. Can now support the underdog, like I grew up loving.

2013 has brought the FA Cup back to life.