England – Overview

England is a kingdom dripping with tradition and pride. The is a brief intro to this royal kingdom and some places you may find worthwhile.

Yeah, you can find the typical Brit snobs, but you will find that most of the people are friendly, down-to-earth, and steadfast, if at times somewhat enjoyably quirky. In fact, although more reserved than Americans, many Americans find friends in Britain with little difficulty, especially when camping or doing something else together with the British, such as hiking, biking, or other activities. Our common language is a huge advantage in Britain and enables you to speak to anyone.

The land is so enchantingly beautiful it is awe-inspiring. Great Britain truly is one of the most beautiful islands in the world. England is a green, pleasant, and graceful land with rustic, orderly villages and towns and vibrant cities all with centuries-old architecture that capture the quintessential essence of England. It is like visiting an enchanted land.

There are several large cities in England, such as Liverpool and Manchester, but the most important city politically and culturally is London.

London

In some ways, London captures the spirit of England and it is its very center in many ways except geographically. Besides a healthy and ever-changing clubbing scene, London also has a major place to see live theatre in the English-speaking world; and this is located in the West End districts of Soho and Covent Garden. Interesting places to see in the daytime include The Eye, which is a giant Ferris wheel with large enclosed cabins that travel slowly around and provide surprisingly good vistas of London. A cruise tour of the Thames River travels through the center of London, but you may also visit the Tower of London that houses the Crown jewels, the London Aquarium, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace, Westminster Abbey, and The London Zoo, to name a few. For those interested, London has a number of major world-renowned museums including the National Gallery, the Natural History Museum, and the Museum of Victoria and Albert. If you need to do some shopping for yourself or for gifts or just for fun, visit some neighborhood flea markets and antique shops on the weekend.

But London is not everyone’s cup of tea.

Get Out of London

Many American visitors remain in London for their entire vacation, and that is a dogfish shame. If you are backpacking or have the gumption to strike out and travel the roads and byways away from the big city, then for goodness sake after you see some of London, get out of London and roam through the rest of England.

The English countryside has been the topic of rhyme and verse, ballad and song for over a thousand years. Simply put, it is awe-inspiring in its forested grandeur, and a welcome refuge from the hectic city. In deepest England you will free yourself from (most) freeways and except for festivals, mobs of people and find the quiet villages and towns that are the prototypical Olde England. Of course, in the summer months, many Britons have the same idea, so the larger tourist towns may not be as quiet as one may wish.

But there are other delights. In the summer months festivals are everywhere and you will be able to attend folk music festivals, rock festivals, and all other kinds of festivals all across Britain. Visit a government tourist office for festivals in the areas you plan to visit.

In addition, there is an abundance of magnificent medieval cathedral cities such as Lincoln, York, Salisbury, Durham and Winchester, fascinating ruined castles and majestic country manor houses that dot the countryside that are open to the public, an abundance of peaceful gardens, National Trails footpaths hundreds of miles long, and picturesque villages each with its own unique eccentricities, literally all over England.

Research and plan ahead of your trip and plan where you would like to go and what you would like to see and experience.

The following are some districts, towns, and places you might like to visit.

Bath

Some consider Bath the most idyllic of English towns. Bath is west of London and in the beautiful English countryside, Bath is an especially beautiful town. This is the location of the famous Roman Baths, which became popular because of natural hot springs in the area. The remains of the Roman baths are open to the public.

Oxford & Cambridge

These are separate towns but one cannot be discussed without the other, as the history of England is intertwined with the ancient universities of both of these towns. In fact, the two towns are sometimes referred to as «Oxbridge.» Oxford and Cambridge are incredibly beautiful towns that are so profoundly English and upper class that their importance and prestige would border on myth were it not fact.

Oxford is the older of the two towns and Oxford University is the oldest in Britain. Oxford University has 36 colleges and over 14,000 students. Oxford is a very small town that is also one of the major tourist destinations in Britain. This means it is often very crowded, so we do not consider driving a car in Oxford as a viable option. If you are arriving by car, there is a Park and Ride service with buses into the city centre that we recommend you use. Or bring bikes and bike around Oxford. Incidentally, if you attempt to rent a punt (boat) to go punting on the river, we recommend you do so only if you are a strong swimmer as learning to control a punt is incredibly difficult, but as all such things- it looks so easy.

Cambridge is a very pleasant town not far from Oxford. There are many things to see and do in Cambridge, but because it is a smaller in size, Cambridge is the best choice to visit during the school year, but if classes are out Oxford is boss.

Stonehenge & Avebury

Stonehenge is a famous prehistoric ritual site made up of a circular formation of enormous boulders. There are various theories on the origins of Stonehenge, but it is acknowledged that it served as an astronomical observatory and it had major religious significance. Visitors have come in increasing numbers over the years so to protect the site, it can only be observed at a distance, so don’t expect to be able to walk around the boulders.

Avebury is not far away and it is also a magnificent prehistoric site. Unlike Stonehenge, Avebury is still fully accessible to visitors. It is certainly worth a visit.

Cotswolds

The farm fields and gentle rolling hills of the Cotswolds are an gorgeous area west of Oxford, east of Gloucester, and running north up to an area south of Birmingham, in southwest England. The Government has designated it as an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ (AONB). It is best to visit this unusually picturesque area off season. Should you visit during the warm months avoid the larger towns and you will not in any way lesson your experience. There is a National Trail called ‘The Cotswold Way’ which is a hiking footpath that runs for 102 miles (164 km) along the dramatic escarpment of the Cotswold Hills from Bath north and then parallel to Gloucester and then north through the countryside to the west of Cheltenham and then north to Chipping Campden. Several prehistoric sites are close to the trail and are worth visiting.

Glastonbury & Its Festival

Of interest to those with of a spiritual, New Age, NeoPagan, Traditional Craft, or Transitional Community orientation, Glastonbury, in Somerset, southwest England, is of special significance. If you are of like mind, you will find this small town an interesting place to visit. For some, it is a place of pilgrimage to experience its special energy-matrix, similar to that of Sedona, Arizona, with the convergence of energy lines, or lay lines, close to the town. Glastonbury also has its share of myths as it is thought by some as the possible location of King Arthur’s Isle of Avalon. In any event, it is certainly a unique place with interesting people.

Since the 1970’s, Glastonbury has been famous for its open-air performing arts festival, which actually takes place in the small town of Pilton, near Glastonbury. The Glastonbury Festival is a music festival that has drawn some of the leading pop and rock musicians, but there is also live theatre, comedy, and dance productions, a circus, a cabaret, and other arts. The Festival usually takes place in the latter part of June, but did not occur in 2012 due to the 2012 London Olympics. In 2011, tickets sold out within four hours of going on sale. You have to plan well ahead if you want to attend.

Cornwall’s Eden Project

Although Cornwall is itself an interesting county, of special interest is an astonishing place called the Eden Project. It consists of two incredibly enormous domes with secondary supporting domes that make up the world’s largest greenhouse. This is a green-conscious facility that is huge in size. If you arrive by foot, bike, or by public transportation, you will qualify for the «Green Discount» of £19.50 for admission. Although expensive, it is well-worth it.

Inside the first dome is a tropical rainforest environment and the second has a Mediterranean environment. Thousands upon thousands of plants and trees are carefully tended. You are able to follow a path through these domed environments. It is a pleasant and beautiful experience. It is located in the countryside 1¼ miles (2 km) from the town of St. Blazey and 3 miles (5 km) from St. Austell.

The Lake District

Another especially beautiful area are the mountains and serene lakes of The Lake District, also called ‘The Lakes’, in northwest England, that essentially is the national park of the same name. The pastoral mountain scenery of The Lakes is breathtaking with stunning views comparable with any you will find in Switzerland. The mountains with its natural lakes and beautiful rustic villages was the inspiration for some of England’s leading romantic poets of the 19th century including Wordsworth and Coleridge.

Manchester

Manchester is an impressive city in the north of England that has transformed itself into a modern metropolis that has fully embraced the 21st century like few others in Europe. Many consider Manchester as the most dynamic city in England if not in Europe, and after London the most important city in England.

Manchester is a lively city with a very active nightlife, a lively fine arts scene, the place of a ‘musical revolution’, and has a considerable amount of modern architecture. It is clearly the city of the future and it is the only English city to carefully plan for orderly and planned residential expansion. It has been compared to Barcelona in its uniqueness and modernity. It is a wonderful place for a vacation, and it is cheaper, friendlier, and more pleasant than London– but that is a personal opinion. Manchester has five universities and a very active night scene.

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Do Football – Soccer Players Get Paid Too Much Money?

I saw the other day a club chief executive moaning about the wages the club pays to the players at the club, I can’t remember who he was but it just annoyed me. There he was smoking a big cigar, driving a brand new Bentley, doing nothing for the club, bar taking a big fat pay packet of his own while not actually getting out on the pitch and making a difference for the club.

Now don’t get me wrong I think he had a point. There are players at every club that just because they are being paid at all means they are receiving too much. But it’s the fact that the people that are telling us players get too much are the ones that are taking money away from the game that makes me think that maybe players are not getting paid too much.

Though having said that a lot do get riches beyond the amount their ability deserves. A few examples spring to mind immediately: Robbie Savage, OK a good player but is he really that good, that he is able to afford to drive a Ferrari? Not in my eyes he’s not. He is far too busy play acting for my liking. Then there is Tim Sherwood, OK he may of won a League Championship medal while at Blackburn but was he really anything other than a good player?

Again I would say no, he was just lucky to be playing in the EPL before the big star influx raised the level of ability needed to make it. but at a time when the big money had entered the game. But in my view the biggest example of an overpaid footballer is Ian Walker, surely the worst ‘keeper the EPL has seen, even when he dropped down a flight with Leicester he was no better than average.

However, when you see the likes of Gianfranco Zola, Thierry Henry, Ronaldinho and Pavel Nedved. These are players that make a match worth watching just to see them, it doesn’t matter what team they play for it’s all about them and their ability to produce magical skills that make your jaw drop in admiration.

Maybe a better answer to the question would be yes some are, but no others are not. Though of course that doesn’t make for good headlines when a player signs a new contract.

Lets be honest how many Manchester United fans begrudge Roy Keane a single penny he made from the club? But that didn’t stop the newspapers whining about the massive sums he was making, well so what? It is nothing compared to the sums that the likes of Martin Edwards made from Manchester United yet Edwards was not the one out on the pitch knowing that his career could be over tomorrow if he receives a bad challenge.

Sometimes I think its just jealousy that creates these headlines about overpaid players, or maybe its just a complete lack of anything interesting to write that leads to it? Either way I would rather they gave both sides of the story before whinging about it. I mean how about a list of the directors and shareholders of a club and how much they took in wages, bonuses and dividends? So that we can have a reference point to compare player’s wages to. I would especially like to know how much the likes of Peter Ridsdale made from Leeds.

To my mind the only way forward is to take clubs back into the hands of the fans, like Wimbledon AFC and FC United. Let’s have all their finances completely transparent, and get rid of agent’s involvement in transfers. Surely the PFA could offer that as one of their services to their union members, after all they certainly have the money. Surely all clubs need to do transfers between themselves is a solicitor, a representative and an FA, UEFA or FIFA or whoever representative to make sure it is all legal and above board.

I know this will never happen as too many people are busy creaming off money from the game to line their own pockets. But at the end of the day it should be about the fans – the players should all be on performance based contracts so they can earn massive amounts but only if the club does well and the ticket prices should be as low as possible so that as many fans as possible can afford to go.

Still this will never happen because too many people would lose out and at the end of the day football is no longer a sport it is a business and that will unfortunately never change.

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The Art of Defence

Defence is an art that the best coaches in the world consider more important than any other aspect of the game. Covering positions, making timely tackles and even springing the offside trap well is key to stopping teams from scoring. After all, what good is a team that can’t defend a 2 or 3 goal lead even.

It was the Italians who decided to take it upon themselves to make defence an art-form, moving away from the physical aspect of defending and bringing in technical prowess. Until the Italians brought finesse into the picture, defending was all about out-muscling the opposition and crunching tackles.

It was the capability to constrict space and restrict movement that led to the rise of the Catenaccio style of play.

HELENIO HERRERA

Not many may remember his name but Helenio Herrera was a French-Argentine player and, later, manager who was one of the biggest names in football coaching during the mid-20th century. Having played for teams like RC Casablanca and Stade Francais, Herrera retired from club football in 1945.

Herrera took up coaching and moved to Spain, where he became the team manager for Real Valladolid, Atletico Madrid, CD Malaga and even the likes of FC Barcelona. It was after his stint for Barcelona, in 1960, that Herrera moved to Inter Milan.

THE RISE OF THE CATENACCIO

It was during his stay at Inter Milan that Herrera decided to modify the way his team defended. He shifted to a 5-3-2 formation to improve his counter attacking style of play. A firm believer in hard work and strong work ethics, Herrera was known as the pioneer of psychological motivational techniques including team pep-talks.

Herrera also introduced the no-smoking & -drinking policy as well as controlling the diet of his players to make them true professionals. Herrera was also known to suspend a player for telling the media, during a press conference, «We came to play in Rome» instead of «We came to win in Rome».

A hard man, Herrera was slightly defensive in his playing style although his form of the Catenaccio was not as defensive as some the future mutations of the formation, when applied by Italian architects.

One of Herrera’s full-backs, the great Giacinto Facchetti, was testimony to the attacking style of Herrera’s Catenaccio that prevailed in that Inter Milan team. The team was built around the defence, with its main role being to absorb the pressure from the opposition before launching lightning-quick counter attacks.

Using his wing backs to overlap the midfield, Herrera completely transformed the way the world looked at attacking football. Not giving away too much at the back, the team became famous for squeezing out 1-0 wins, leading to the nickname Verrou, meaning «Door Bolt».

HERRERA’S LEGACY

Known as «Herrera’s Inter», the team would go on to win the 1963, 65 & 66 league titles, the 1964 & 65 European Champions Cup as well as the Intercontinental cup in both those seasons. Herrera also became the first coach to go on and coach three separate national teams, ending his career with a 48.57% winning record.

In his 908 games as a manager, which included teams like Inter Milan, AS Roma, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and CF Os Belenenses, Herrera lost just 241 games while drawing 226. In his 12-club coaching career, Herrera ended with a negative goal difference only three times – with Real Valladolid (-21), AS Roma (-1) and Rimini (-22). Each team was too weak at the time although Herrera did transform Roma into a championship winning team, getting the 1969 Italian Cup with a sub-standard line-up and his famous Catenaccio style of football.

THE «DOOR BOLT»

Unlike popular conception, the Catenaccio was not built to shut out opposition. The entire concept of play was to allow the opposition to attack, relentlessly even, before suddenly attacking on the counter. The team would play with five at the back, in a «V-shaped» formation, with the Libero or sweeper at the centre. As the opponents entered the «V», their attack would be narrowed down, restricting movement and space.

Once the ball changed possession, the defending team had a wingback on either side, already ahead of the advancing opposition’s midfield. That meant that the team could now push out, rapidly, by playing the ball out to these wingbacks, who would have loads of space to exploit.

EARLY MUTATIONS

While the Catenaccio was, itself, a mutation of the 5-4-1 system invented by Karl Rappan for the Swiss national team, the formation underwent a lot of transformation itself. Teams reverted to the original «Rappan-style» by playing the sweeper just in front of the goalkeeper and stationing a flat back-four in front.

Nereo Rocco, coach of Calcio Padova in the 1950s, was another who exploited the system. With three-flat defenders who man-marked the opposition, Rocco would play a playmaker in the middle, just ahead of the defence, alongside two wingers. While these three weren’t the actual midfield, Rocco’s style would use the sweeper behind the central defence as well, to double-team the stronger players.

The midfield would be in front of these three, with a solitary striker up front, leading to a 1-3-3-3 formation.

While Herrera also focussed on man-marking with four of his defenders, his defence was flexible in that it swung from right or left to make it a flat line on most times. This meant that four defenders, aid by the midfield, would effectively man-mark the opposition, which had already been herded through the middle. That left the remaining fifth defender – always a wingback, free to make runs on the counter.

ENFORCED DOWNFALL

Catenaccio had become the flavour of the month, in the 60s and 70s, catching the fancy of every coach on the world scene. However, it was one man who’s style of play brought Catenaccio to its knees – Rinus Michels.

When faced with the tight man-marking of the Catenaccio, Michels decided to remove the whole concept of playing footballers in fixed positions. He removed the boundaries that separated attackers, midfielders and defenders, teaching all his players to play in all positions. As attackers fell back to the midfield, or even defence, their man-markers were unable to leave their posts and follow in pursuit.

The fact that Michels had the crop of players that he did, to implement such a technique, was the only reason Total Football became a reality.

Catenaccio was no longer the primary choice anywhere as Total Football, or replicas of it, began dismantling defences with their speed and movement. Mediocre coaches, who followed rather than researched, were left with no choice but to fall to the wayside.

CATENACCIO MODIFICATIONS

Coaches who preached the Herrera principle looked to counter Total Football with a modification to the Catenaccio’s man-marking formula. The answer was quite simple, in theory – Zona Mista.

The Zona Mista was a concept that incorporated man-marking and zone-marking into one strong defensive strategy. While the concept still used the four man defence with the roaming sweeper, the difference was in the way the midfield and the fullbacks supported the defence.

The two central defenders, in the heart of the defence, would play zone-marking. The midfield would have a defensive midfielder, who was required to help out the defence by falling back. A central midfielder would play in front of the defensive midfielder while a winger (usually on the right flank), would support in attack.

Two strikers would play up front, one on the wide left, with one in the centre. The position of the wide striker was determined by the position of the winger – both being on opposite flanks. The winger would act as an additional striker while the wide striker would float in to make it a two-pronged attack.

When defending, the wide striker would come in to cover for the central midfielder as the latter would drop into a defensive position.

ZONA MISTA IN REAL LIFE

Italy – 1982

The most famous application of this formation was in the 1982 FIFA World Cup when Italy went into the tournament with this brand new style of football. Gaetano Scirea played the role of the sweeper to perfection while the attacking left back was a young 18-year old, who would later go on to become one of the greatest defenders of all time – Giuseppe Bergomi.

Gabriele Oriali played as the defensive midfielder, just in front of Fulvio Collovati and the man who stopped a young Diego Maradona – Claudio Gentile. Marco Tardelli played as the central midfielder while Bruno Conti was the creative genius behind Italy’s Zona Mista success.

While Antonio Cabrini played at the front wide position, it was Paolo Rossi who came into the main striker’s position.

Italy’s success led to an increased use of the Zona Mista although the application remained mostly in the Italian leagues. Teams, in Europe, found it hard to beat this fantastic combination of man- and zone-marking, keeping the Italians ahead of the rest. However, there was always the need of a great striker to take care of the few chances that this format would create – something that most teams lacked.

Italy – 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2004

More recently, Cesare Maldini employed the Catenaccio form of play in Italy’s 1998 FIFA World Cup campaign. Needless to say, Italy played defensively, without creating too many waves, eventually getting kicked out in the Round of 16, through penalties. His successor, Giovanni Trapattoni, also employed the same tactics in the 2002 FIFA World Cup as well as in the 2004 European Championships.

In both cases, Italy failed to make any significant progress although Trapattoni would go on to prove his critics wrong by leading Portuguese side, Benfica to the league title.

Dino Zoff, whose team successfully used the Zona Mista in 1982, was the Italian coach in Euro 2000 when Italy went in with the same tactics. This time, Zoff managed to take the team to the finals of the tournament, losing to France through a Golden Goal.

Greece – 2004

Greece used the same format under Otto Rehhagel, at the 2004 European Championships, and successfully so. Greece won the title with numerous 1-0 wins through the knockout stages, all thanks to a heavily defensive style of play.

BAD PUBLICITY

The Catenaccio was often on the receiving end of criticism from the rest of Europe primarily due to the boring style of football that it promoted. The Italians were said to have made the game «unattractive» however practitioners of this form of football always had results to further their faith in the system.

In most cases, the reason behind the criticism was said to be the inability of most teams to break down such defences, especially in crucial European ties, leading to a loss or a draw that they could ill-afford.

THE MODERN DAY SCENARIO

Catenaccio is a dormant formation today. With both man-marking and the sweeper position going out of style, what with the faster pace and television coming into the picture, teams are rarely known to implement such a format today.

You may see the odd variation of this formation when weaker teams go up against stronger opposition however the success of the Catenaccio or the Zona Mista is largely dependent on the quality of the defenders and the wingbacks.

The more physical format of the Catenaccio finds few followers even in the technical format of the Italian league while other formations, such as the 4-1-2-1-2 (midfield diamond) and even the 4-3-2-1 (Christmas tree) formations can be attributed, albeit loosely, to the Catenaccio.

Teams that go down a man or more, are also known to exhibit similar playing patterns although the true form of Catenaccio remains buried under a pile of demands for attacking play.

MISUSE OF THE TERM

In today’s scenario, you often find commentators, even some pundits, refer to the Italian game as the Catenaccio style of football. The latest example was the game between Barcelona and Inter Milan, at Camp Nou, during the second leg of the 2009-10 UEFA Champions League semi-finals.

Unfortunately, Jose Mourinho’s tactics were nothing like the Catenaccio style, albeit defensive. Down to ten men, Inter simply held a lower midfield to aid their defence, nothing more. They did was what needed and even Barcelona, with all their firepower, couldn’t break through. It has to be said that while Mourinho knew exactly what he was doing, there was absolutely no connection with the Catenaccio style of defence.

Commentators, especially Englishman, are known to refer to the Italian defensive style of football as Catenaccio, irrespective of whether the team follows the format or not. Catenaccio has become synonymous with defensive play although few understand the true meaning of the term, sadly, even the pundits make mistakes.

At the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Italy were down to 10-men while playing Australia in the Round of 16. They defended heavily until a winner came in the form of a Francesco Totti penalty, late in the game. An English newspaper, «The Guardian», famously wrote, «The timidity of Italy’s approach had made it seem that Helenio Herrera, the high priest of Catenaccio, had taken possession of the soul of Marcello Lippi.»

What the reporter failed to notice was that 10-men Italy were playing in a 4-3-2 formation which was just a man short of the regular 4-4-2 that they had started with – Daniele De Rossi, the midfielder who was dismissed.

THE FINAL WORD

Like all good things, Catenaccio also had to come to an end. With its end, like with everything else, rose many new formats that are, till date, being practiced by coaches around the world. While the Catenaccio may have been laid to rest with the modern day television’s demand for exciting football, coaches will always fall back to their learning of this system when struggling with their backs against the wall.

Until the next time a British commentator mentions «Catenaccio» in the wrong place, Happy Defending!!!

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A Short Biography of Famous Soccer Player – Frank Lampard

His complete name is Frank James Lampard. He was born in Romford, London, England on 20 June 1978. He is an English soccer player who now plays for Chelsea. His playing in the field is as Midfielder. For his club and national side, Lampard holds the role as vice-captain.

He is regarded as one of the best soccer players in the world. He has got the Chelsea Player of the Year award three times. In Premier League history, he is also is the highest goal scoring midfielder with 129 league goals. With seniors clubs, Lampard experienced playing soccer for West Ham United (1995-2001), Swansea City (1995-1996 as a loan), Chelsea (2001-).

Frank Lampard spent the majority of his early years playing soccer in his local park with the rest of his family. He has constantly been observed as a very determined individual, and that quality was linked with him from an early age.

He was first marked by England U-21 manager Peter Taylor, and his under-21 first appearance came on 13 November 1997 in a competition against Greece. In international career, since making his first appearance in October 1999Lampard has been played 82 times by England, and has made 20 goals. For two successive years in 2004 and 2005, he was selected as England player of the year.

As a professional soccer player, Lampard has won many honors with his clubs. With West Ham United, he won UEFA Intertoto Cup in 1999. and with Chelsea, he got UEFA Champions League (Runner-up: 2008), Premier League (Champion: 2004-05, 2005-06, 2009-10, and Runner-up: 2003-04, 2006-07, 2007-08), FA Cup (Winner: 2007, 2009, 2010, and Runner-up: 2002), Football League Cup (Winner: 2005, 2007, and Runner-up: 2008), FA Community Shield (Winner: 2005, 2009, and Runner-up: 2006, 2007).

In addition, Lampard also won many individual honors. Some of them are 2005 FIFA World Player of the Year (Silver Award), 2005 Ballon d’Or (Silver Award), FWA Footballer of the Year (2005), UEFA Club Midfielder of the Year (2008), World XI (2005), PFA Fans’ Player of the Year (2005), England Player of the Year (2004, 2005), Euro 2004 (Team of the Tournament), Premier League Player of the Month (2003, 2005, 2008), Barclays Player Of The Season (2005, 2006), Chelsea Player of the Year (2004, 2005, 2009), PFA Premier League Team of the Year (2004, 2005, 2006), Premier League’s Player of the Decade, (2000-2009), ESM Team of the Year (2005, 2006), and FWA Tribute Award (2010).

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Impact of Brexit on English Football

Brexit, the word came into existence in early months of 2016 when Britain firstly announced its exit from EU. The statement quickly spread a turbulent wave in the whole world especially to the other members of EU. At that time, none was able to understand what was happening and why Britain is having this exit. Numerous meeting and press conferences took place in no time, but nobody could get any clear idea about the upcoming consequences of this exit by the UK. Everyone was waiting to know how the UK will vote for this exit. 51.9% of votes were in favor of Brexit and rest 48.1% votes went against it. EU nationals knew that it was going to be a big change for them, especially the players who play football. The players knew that the UK's exit from EU may originate lots of changes in the system they are part of.

Now, after one year of Brexit's referendum, the UK has finally invoked Article 50 of Lisbon treaty on 29th of March, 2017 leaving most of the premier league clubs in fear of its impact. Following are the parameters which may get affected and impact the English football big way:

1) Freedom of Movement: In accordance with four fundamentals of freedom by the EU, it is the right of the citizens to move freely among the member states for the purpose of employment. Now as Britain has left EU, it will not at all be easy for the EU nationals to enter the UK. This kind of restriction on citizens will clearly impact the citizens to work, especially those who play football. These football players will not be able to work with the UK football clubs that easily as it was before Brexit. Unless the UK government gets into some agreement with an individual member state of EU considering "Freedom of Movement", the EU citizens have to face uncertainty. Such an uncertainty among the players is going to have a bad impact on their game and career. It was because of Freedom of Moment only that these players were able to work for various clubs of EU without any work permit. After Brexit, things are never going to be the same. The players have to get a work visa to work with football clubs in the UK and it won't be that easy.

2) Work Permit: The second major impact which Brexit may create for the English football players is the requirement of a work permit to enter and work in the UK. The players who were working with various football clubs in the UK without any Visa issues will now have to obtain work permit before entering the UK. The complex part is that there is a set criterion to have a work permit. Similar issues will be faced by non-EU players, who will apply to FA for a governing body endorsement before a work permit can be issued to them by their Home office. Considering this impact, the Premier League clubs have urged Britain's government to find out some protective measures from being impacted by Brexit. They want the UK government to provide an exemption of work visa to the footballers so that they can freely play for their respective clubs in Britain. Otherwise, it will be difficult for the football clubs in the UK to hire the players from Europe. Therefore, it is extremely necessary for Britain to preserve its 44-year relationship with EU.

3) Devaluation of Currency: Since June 2016, when Brexit was proposed, the value of British Pound is certainly decreasing against Dollar. This devaluation of the UK's currency is definitely going to affect the life of football players who are playing for the UK football clubs as they will earn less in comparison to post Brixit earnings. Moreover, it will be easy for Non the UK clubs to pick football players easily from the UK as they will have to pay less salary to those players who understand pounds. Moreover, this devaluation of the UK's currency will remain uncertain unless there are some bilateral agreements signed between the two parties, the UK and other left members of EU. Therefore, this downfall of a pound is surely going to affect the lives of footballers playing in Premier League. They may have to face financial losses and many other changes in their life. For few of them, it can also be tough to continue their career as a footballer which can be a big issue for them to resolve.

4) The tension between the FA and the Premier League: Due to Brexit, there is a sense of uncertainty surrounding the potential implications of football law. Those who are leading the football clubs in the UK are also tensed and uncertain about how they are doing to operate after Brexit. According to the record charts of Premier League, the highest percentage of goals scored by EU nationals in the Premier League is of Chelsea and it's 76 percent. That means the Blues will suffer the most post Brexit. Moreover, 74 percent of the players from Chelsea are either an EU national or they hold a second EU nationality. It will become extremely tough for Chelsea to easily operate because of Brexit. As per the football authorities in the UK, there can be restrictions on Bosman transfers, which will restrict the UK clubs to hire EU players to play for their club in Premier League. Even FA is planning to create some new opportunities for the young players of England, who want to play in England. Whereas, the Premier League clubs are focusing on their player squads to face and survive the upcoming competitions.

5) GBE: It stands for "Governing body endorsement". According to FA's work permit criteria, now the Non-EU / EEA footballers will have to receive GBE from their respective sports governing body to get a work visa and play for the respective clubs. Those players who have participated in the minimum percentage of senior competitive international matches for their national teams in two years duration before they have applied for a work visa, do qualify for GBE. In case any player doesn't qualify for GBE, then that player will be evaluated on points based system. These points are given on the basis of the amount of transfer fee paid by that player and the basic salary offered to the player as compared to other players in a league. These points are also awarded on the basis of that player's performance while playing for his previous club. At the end, the player who qualifies for this points based system gets the visa and those players who cannot qualify, they do not get a work permit for play for respective football clubs.

Length of Issue of GBE:
Governing Body Endorsements should be issued for a period appropriate to the period of
approval for sponsorship or the tier under which the application is being made, that is:
As a Sponsor – Tier 2 or Tier 5 – for 4 years.
Migrant Tier 2 Sport
Initial application – length of contract or up to three years maximum, whichever is the
shorter period.
Extension application – length of contract or up to two years maximum, whichever is
the shorter period.
Migrant Tier 5 sporting – length of contract or up to 12 months, whichever is the
shorter period. No in-country extensions are possible.

If stated in their governing body endorsement requirements, governing bodies may endorse an individual player for a shorter period than the employment contract, for example, a season. If this is the case, the individual player must be made aware that their certificate of sponsorship and consequently entry clearance or leave to remain will be limited to the length of the endorsement and will not be for the length of the contract.

6) Opportunity for young English Players: Along with other negative vibes, Brexit has also created an opportunity for young English players who were yet unable to be the part of the first team. The authorities from FA want to see the world class Premier League where the world class players will be playing and not the average international players. They are going to give a chance to the domestic players who do have the potential to compete with international players. Then, Premier League will be a platform for them to showcase the talent they have by playing football along with top notch footballers. The authorities have addressed that they are not trying to be in a fight with Premier League by calling these youngsters. Rather they are finding a sensible way round that works for all, the players, the governments, Premier League, and FA. It will neither be an open door policy for any player to come and play in Premier League, nor it will be straight no to the foreigners. It will just be the best display of football for all of us. In March 2017, it has been announced by EFL that there will be an increase in the number of home-grown players on team sheets from six to seven from the upcoming season. Also, they had put forward an agreement which says that at least one club developed player will be added to each team for any EFL league from the 2018-19 campaign.

Taking a closer look at the above-mentioned points, anyone can figure out that Brexit is definitely going to have an impact on English Football, if not much then at least some. The players have to face lots of new situations which they may find tough to resolve but, there is always a solution to the problem. Let's hope that the government of the UK and FA, and EU collectively find something effective for the citizens and especially the footballers from both sides.

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Premier League Football Player Photos – Handy Hints and Tips For Taking Good Photos

This guide is about the specifics of taking your snaps at ‘the match’ and hints about the do’s and don’ts. Make an effort to understand your own camera’s capabilities – ‘happy snappers’ can take great football players photos as today’s modern digital cameras are all pretty good. One important thing to recognise is that taking photographs at a sporting arena, can require a permit, as obtained by the press and media organizations. However, with the proliferation and qualities of mobile phone camera’s and the compact digital cameras, all stadiums and clubs now turn a blind eye to their use by the general public. Remember this, it’s important, it is a privilege not a right and acting as such can avoid difficult situations.

Equipment: Read the camera’s instructions and understand what you can and can’t do with your point and shoot. Extra battery power is essential, small and easy, keep them warm in your pocket – longer life. An extra memory card is always a good idea. An SLR camera may be too bulky to get past security plus, may make you look like a ‘pro’ and therefore attract the wrong kind of attention. In the same vein, tripods and telephoto lenses may prove troublesome.

Location: Most premier league stadiums are modern and will not have restricted views. However, older more characterful arena’s such as Goodison Park and Craven Cottage for example, will have pillars and stanchions blocking some views. Also sunshine can play havoc with a good shot either in reflective light or, cast shadows, be prepared to adjust your camera’s setup manually if you can. Or, check which direction the stand you are choosing seats in is facing; remember the sun rises in the east, sinks in the west.

Planning: If you know where you’re going to sit, you can plan what kind of shot you think best will work from your station. Information about such positions can be gleaned from the club or internet. If you can choose you seating, then avoid being behind the goal – too much excited jumping up and down around you. Or, being too high as the angle will seem odd and the digital zoom will not be enough.

Shots: If there is a barrier or wall that you can utilize to steady the camera then, more chance of avoiding ‘shake’. You can always use football players taking free kicks or corners as a bench mark shot as there are moments of ‘stillness’, this will assist you calibrating and manual changes to the camera set up. Want football players photos close up? Then try and get a seat near the corner flag or front row along the touchline.

Continuous mode: Your camera should have this facility. If there’s a melee in the box or, good action close by, then continuous mode will give you the best chance of catching the action. Typically the built in flash turns off on ‘continuous mode’ if not make sure you do it manually.

We wish you happy snapping and you get the shots you want, hoping the simple guide will assist you getting your favourite football player photos.

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