Super Bowl LI – Best Ever!

The New England Patriots, behind on the scoreboard most of the game, playing lethargically and not in their usual rhythmic style, overcame a big third quarter deficit to come back and tie the game in the last minute at 28-28 forcing the first overtime in Super Bowl history.

Tom Brady, seemingly out-of-sync for most of the first three quarters, showed why he is referred to as the greatest quarterback in National Football League history–emphasized after the game by none other than Terry Bradshaw. He is the only quarterback to win five Super Bowls, breaking the tie of four each with Terry Bradshaw of the Pittsburgh Steelers of the 1970s. He has also won four Super Bowl MVP awards, most for any player.

Never had a team come back from more than ten points down in the greatest game of them all. New England entered the fourth quarter down 28-3, a deficit deemed impossible to overcome, unless you are Tom Brady and the New England Patriots–calm, confident, methodical.

Tom Brady was drafted in 2000 in the sixth round, 199 overall, from Michigan. Robert K. Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, now says it is the best thing the team has ever done. Guess so with five NFL Championships–Super Bowl wins–in the Coach Bill Belichick / Tom Brady era.

The Patriot’s capitalized on several Atlanta penalties and misplays scoring twenty-five unanswered points in the fourth quarter tying the game.

New England won the coin toss–heads–and chose to receive. One had to wonder, with the momentum the Patriots had built in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, if Atlanta would even touch the football in Overtime. They did not! New England marched down the field 75 yards on eight plays, scoring on James White’s 2-yard touchdown run. Game over.

New England’s experience in such games as this proved too much for a feisty Atlanta, who, for three quarters, gave New England all they could handle, but in the final analysis did not have the experience to win it. The Patriots held the ball for 40 of 60 minutes, ran more than 90 offensive plays, and exhausted the Falcons defense to the point that the 4th quarter was all New England–typical Coach Belichick.

The stunned Atlanta Falcons stood in shock when the final score flashed on the boards–34-28!

After the game, Brady was asked how he did it, how he was able to bring the Patriots back after the big deficit. «We all brought each other back,» said Brady, Super Bowl M.V.P. for a record fourth time. «We never felt out of it.»

Postscript: N.F.L. Commissioner Roger Goodell, booed heartily by the fans, shook hands with Brady on the sidelines after the game. Ironic considering the «Deflategate» fiasco resulting in his suspending Brady for the first four games of the 2016 season.

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Old Trafford – The Magnificent Home Of Manchester United

Old Trafford, The Theater of Dreams, and the home of the most popular and successful football teams in the world – Manchester United. The Red Devils, managed by Sir Alex Ferguson have lived at Old Trafford since it was built in 1910, with the exception of an eight-year absence from 1941 to 1949, following the bombing of the stadium in the Second World War.

Old Trafford is an all-seater stadium with room for 75,957 spectators. There are also numerous VIP and season hospitality boxes, executive boxes, restaurants and hospitality areas. Surrounding the Old Trafford pitch are four covered all-seater stands known as the North, East, South and West Stands.

The dugout is in the center of the South Stand. It is raised above pitch level to give the manager and his coaches a better view of the game. The visitors' dugout is the other side of the old tunnel, The Munich Tunnel, which is the only remaining part of the original stadium.

The current players' tunnel is in the South West corner. It is also used to bring in the police and emergency services. The tunnel leads directly to the players 'dressing rooms, the players' lounge and the television interview area.

There is also a Football Museum highlighting "The Greatest Football Story Ever Told". Beginning more than one hundred years ago, it tells the story of Manchester United's total English and European football dominance. You even get to tour the stadium and see the team through the eyes of some of the greats such as Sir Matt Busby and Sir Alex Ferguson.

Such is the devotion of the Manchester United fans that there is a soccer mega store totally devoted to the team's paraphernalia. At 17,000 square feet, it has 800 different items and 39 tills. Over 20,000 people visit it on a match day!

Should you have a junior Rooney or Beckham then Old Trafford also holds soccer schools for the chosen few as well as training for its second and junior teams.

Everything about Old Trafford and Manchester United is world class and this includes their hospitality. Fine food and drinks and attention to detail are evident everywhere, including the world famous Red Café. Hospitality can be booked by the season – and many large companies have their own Executive Boxes at Old Trafford, or by the match. For a truly awe inspiring time it is difficult to beat visiting The Old Trafford

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A Short Biography of Famous Soccer Players – Diego Milito

His complete name is Diego Alberto Milito. He was born in Bernal, Argentina on 12 June 1979. Diego Milito is a professional soccer player and now become a part of national team of Argentina. In club level, he presently plays for F.C. Internazionale Milano. In the field of arena, he is always played as a center-forward.

For international career as professional player, Milito made two goals on his first appearance in opposition to Uruguay in 2003. He participated for Argentina national team in the 2007 Copa América competition.

Milito is so powerful with a keen eye for goal. And he is considered as one of the finest headers of the ball in the modern game. In addition, he is also considered as a productive and consistent striker. His nickname is Il Principe (Italian for «The Prince»).

During his career as a professional soccer player, he ever played for some senior clubs. Some of them are Racing Club (1999-2004), Genoa (2004-2005), Zaragoza (2005-2008), Genoa (2008-2009), and Internazionale (2009- ). He got some honors with his clubs. And some of his honors are Primera División Argentina (Apertura 2001 with Racing Club), and Serie A: 2009, Coppa Italia: 2010, UEFA Champions League: 2010 (with Internazionale).

At Real Zaragoza, Diego Milito was a captain for the club, taking over this position from Gabriel who leaved for Barcelona in 2007. In the La Liga 2006-2007 season, he was one of players who got the top scorers. His goals assisted the club to a sixth position finish in the league.

Watch Sports on the Internet With ESPN360

If you do not necessarily want to buy the full Dish Network sports package, or you have basic cable and cannot afford more, or you just are one of those people still in the Dark Ages of TV with only an antenna and you still want to watch sports, that is what ESPN360.com provides. ESPN360 allows you to watch sports on the internet that you otherwise not might be able to watch. Even if you have every sports channel possible on DirecTV or Dish Network (they have more sports than anyone as they are satellite providers), you will still be able to catch a few sporting events exclusively on ESPN360 and nowhere else.

These days, a lot of internet users want to watch sports on the internet for whatever reason. Of course it helps if you have a fast connection, but fast connections are common these days. Most readers of this article will be able to watch ESPN360, provided their internet company provides it. The list of providers will continue to grow, I am sure, as it is becoming quite the popular place to watch sports on the internet in general and to watch soccer internet matches exclusively, for one.

As for the ESPN360 schedule of live events, on the day I am writing this (Thursday, October 9) I see 15 live events scheduled to show. Some events like college football, UEFA Champions League matches, NFL games, etc. will be shown live on TV and on ESPN360. For the soccer lovers who do not have the dough to be able to get all the soccer channels on satellite TV, ESPN360 includes Serie A, the Dutch league, Chinese league, U.S. soccer and other soccer matches that you will not see on any channel in the U.S. So for the soccer fanatics like me, it is fantastic to be able to watch soccer on the internet with ESPN360. They even show some futsal and beach soccer when they have tournaments.

These days, sports fans want more and more options for watching sports. I know as I am one myself. When I miss a game or can’t find it anywhere else I’m often able to go to ESPN360 online and catch it. One of the best features is they save most every game shown on ESPN360 for you to come and watch it later. You just have to search on their convenient list for the game you want to see, even after it has already ended. That is the beauty of watching TV online and that is why I think it will happen more and more in the future.

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Shopping Tour – Who is the New Star Joining Barcelona?

It’s always the right time to write about this topic, right? Now that Barcelona games are only available for weekends, we have lot of days to wait and lot of time to kill. Nothing is better than some transfer temptations. We will have to live with all kind of rumors till the end of the season. Being a season of elections won’t make is better, pouring oil on the fire.

So let’s go straight to the market!

Goalkeepers:

Alright, for once I doubt there will be any voices questioning Valdes as a first notch keeper. We need to buy a backup keeper. Pinto, for all his good (and bad) is aging. Barcelona Athletic keepers still untested and need at least three years to prove themselves for being reliable. The keeper we are seeking must not be a first class keeper who demands playing time, but still good enough to cover Valdes absence and with enough quality to keep Valdes alert to avoid competition threats. Claudio Bravo of Real Sociedad was mentioned for being the main target. I still think he is too good to be true. Twenty six years old Chilean international who will defend his nation in the following world cup may not find it a tempting opportunity to warm up Barcelona bench for the rest of his career. That’s ten years from now considering the Goal keepers football career. It will be an absolute craziness if it happens, in an absolutely fantastic way, for Barcelona.

On my short list -which has nothing to do with Barcelona targets- there is Daniel Fernandes for being one of the most realistic options. One older reliable -and may be cheap- option is Morgan De Sanctis who can serve for couple of years. Cedric Carrasso is a less realistic option, though not an impossible one. Federico Marchetti is an interesting option to scout, while Joe Hart is impossible to get though I want to list him here just to wonder why -OH WHY the hell!- did Manchester City loaned out such a quality talented youth and bought an aging Given?

Defense:

I will make it short. I don’t want us to sign any defender this summer. I know the club is looking for a backup for Alves. But the same as I mentioned last summer, there is no better backup for Alves than Puyol. Yet, if we need more assurance, bring back Caceres, Henrique, or promote a Cantera. I am not sure who is under the scouting radars at the moment, but I will be so surprised if the targets have the quality of Caceres or Henrique. I watched them close this season, and I am more certain than before they can serve the team well.

Besides, there is a decision to be made regarding Botia who is having a very good season on loan. There is a decision to be made regarding Muniesa, Fontàs, Bartra and the rest of defenders we have at Barca Athletic who are looking forward to see the light out of the tunnel toward the first team. The decision may not be promoting them all next season, but at least sending a clear message that they are in our plans and will have a chance and space with time.

Midfield:

My opinion about signing Cesc Fabregas is still the same. What sounded as an odd argument once, is a belief for a decent sector of Barcelona fans now. It’s not right to pay the amount of cash needed to get Cesc back home, he found a new home for himself once, and he can find another home if he wanted. But the guy is most likely a Barcelona player next season. When he wears the Barcelona shirt, he is our kid again, and will get all the support required.

For fifty millions of cash you can buy Silva who can do everything Cesc does and more, and you will still have enough money to make an agreement with a hairdresser to take care of Iniesta’s hair for the rest of his career. It’s smarter to invest that amount of money on Silva and Iniesta’s hair than on Cesc, no offense.

But the guy is coming. If we succeeded to keep either Jonathan Dos Santos or Thiago Alcantara, fine! Hope they will still feel motivated enough to challenge for a future in the club. I think JDS will be the victim of signing Cesc as he plays almost an identical role, while Thiago has some other features that makes him a different kind of players than Cesc.

If Yaya stayed, then that’s all the changes to expect in the midfield. We will have an impossible challenge to find playing time for everyone anyway. So we won’t add more complications. If Yaya decided to leave, we will give it a second try to get Mascherano, who is closer to Barcelona than some may think. If I am reading Pep well (who does?), it seems he wants more agility and stamina in the holding midfield department than strength. With Busquets improving on weekly bases, a pure defensive midfielder who can create an extremely different option for Pep is reasonable. When you want a more dynamic midfield you get a Busquets. When you want a more static defensive midfielder covering behind the offense troops as a vacuum cleaner you use the alternative Holding midfielder (Yaya or Mascherano). Yaya -in the right mood and form- is better than Mascherano when it come to playmaking contribution. Busquets is better than them both. As a pure defensive midfielder, Mascherano heads the list. Added to the rumor that Mascherano is yet to renew his contract with Liverpool, it means that he will be more attainable next summer than he was last summer. But that will only happen if Yaya left. Buying Cesc means no more installments in the midfield if no one left.

Offense:

First of all we need to sort out what we have. At the moment, we have Messi, Ibra, and Henry added to Pedro, Jeffren and Bojan with Iniesta being used when needed. I am not sure what the future plans of Henry are, but I will welcome keeping him. There are doubts if Henry can prove being useful for the club next season, which is valid. Yet, for a player who is already in your squad, the most important question is: how to benefit from his presence the longest period possible? As a key player and for the contract conditions he has now, it is not a very profitable situation for the club (If we are only evaluating next seasons’ costs Vs benefits, which is unfair as the contract worth must be evaluated by comparing the cost vs. the players’ contribution throughout the contract duration).

If Henry wants to stay till his contract run out, then he is more than welcomed. If he wants to move somewhere else, then I hope the club will release him for free so he can negotiate with any team he wants seeking his own interest. That’s the least we can do.

Yet, if he is willing to consider a new contract, I believe it’s for the best of the team to extend Henry contract for two additional years (Yea!!) while decreasing his annual earnings, and making it clear that he will be used more as a game changer than a key starter during his new contract duration. There is no better player Barcelona can sign as a game changer than Henry. I labeled him as the new Larsson once, and I am still hopeful that this wishful thinking will come true.

I have only two options to select from, if we decided to sign a new player: Silva, and Villa. All the other options are far behind.

If Henry leaves, then we need to sign a new player without any question:

1) If we sign Silva, the offense line will look like this:

Silva-Ibra-Messi as starters and Pedro- Bojan -Jeffren as backups. Not a bad structure, yet there is a huge defect in it, we’ll only have one striker -Ibra- to count on as an offense reference (9), considering that Bojan is still not ready for a key role. Imagine Ibra getting injured for few games, we will definitely be in a big trouble.

2) If we sign Villa, the offense line will look like this:

Villa-Ibra-Messi as starters and Pedro- Bojan -Jeffren as backups. That’s my favorite structure. Villa is a goal scoring forward who will be converted to a flank forward role (Henry), which will guarantee more goal scoring qualities than getting a pure wing. He is more compatible to Ibra and Messi style of play than any other option and he fits perfectly our tactical structure that is a mix of 4-3-3 and 4-4-2 diamond. Even for the youth, it’s better that the first team sign a 28 years old player than a 22 years old wing. Keeping in mind that so far we don’t really have a young striker whom we can put our bet on for the future (in the following 5 years), while on the flanks we have lot of Pedros and Jeffrens. Even Bojan is at the moment closer to a flanked forward/second striker than a nine.

If Henry stays:

It means having Pedro-Ibra-Messi as starters and Bojan-Henry-Jeffren as backups. Not a bad structure but we can improve it much more:

New signing- Ibra-Messi with Pedro-Henry-Jeffren/Bojan as back up. Meaning, we need to decide if we will keep Bojan or Jeffren. Keeping them both is so unpractical as they will eat each others’ playing time or the better will dominate the less qualified. At least a loan decision should be made in this case.

Even with Henry staying, I still favor Villa over Silva, especially if we signed Cesc. Silva is a great talent that any team would like to sign, but I can’t find anything Silva can do that Iniesta cant. Something we can’t say about Villa.

I won’t be the last time we make a virtual shopping tour, but this is how my transfers’ wish list looks so far.

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Talisman Hazard, Back Where He Belongs

For Eden Hazard, the first season at Chelsea was supposed to be difficult, given the Premier League’s immense physical demands and his modest stature at 5’8″. Hazard though announced himself in a respectable way with 13 goals in the season. The next season got him 17 goals plus the PFA Young Player of the Year award. The season after, he scored another 19 and won the PFA player of the Year award. Both seasons he was unanimously voted Chelsea’s Player of the Year.

Three seasons with the West London outfit, and Hazard was a superstar. His dribbling skills were mesmerizing, his ability to outfox defenders with ease was a treat to watch. He could score at will, his pace was amazing and his set-pieces were brilliant.

Indeed, terminologies like ‘the next Messi’ and ‘a future Ballon d’or’ were heard when referring to Hazard. And while Hazard did find himself crashing on the football turf often, courtesy of some aggressive defending, his form took an abruptly similar turn before long.

Playing the 2015-16 season for the defending champions of the Premier League, Hazard lost possession often, and it looked like his heart was not in the game. He tried switching it up but nothing came of it. His tally of just six goals bore a symbiotic relationship to Chelsea’s own decline over the season as they endured a lowly 10th-place finish. Unfortunately for the Belgian, he bore the brunt of the criticism from the media, former players and pundits.

They said he was a ‘flash in the pan’, ‘weakling’ and ‘overrated’. PSG and Real Madrid generously offered to give him an out. West London was not a happy place.

All that was about to change.

The new season brought in a new manager from Italy Antonio Conte and a new formation that did wonders for Chelsea, and indeed, Hazard.

As part of the tip of the unusual 3-4-3, Hazard found all the boost he needed. With his hunger back, he tore apart opposition defenders, looking stronger and sharper. He was free-scoring once more and his passes and first touches were precise and incisive.

Fuelled by his 14 goals so far presently the West Londoners sit pretty atop the league table with a bit of daylight between them and their nearest opponents. He has definitely shut all the doubters and stormed his way back into elite status. Those Messi comparisons and Ballon d’or statements are back in circulation.

A heck of a turnaround indeed for the Belgian wizard!

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Manchester – Popchester!

Manchester’s long and distinguished roster of world-famous pop music stars and superstars has been a great source of pride among local Mancunians, especially since it gives some indication of the prominent role that the city’s musical heritage plays in the world music scene.

As early as the sixties and seventies, Manchester boasted several popular groups like The Hollies, The Bee Gees and 10cc. In addition, the BBC recorded the popular TV show «Top of the Pops» in the city, which was another reason to be proud of the local music scene. Several original members of The Hollies, founded in the early sixties, were raised in Manchester and nearby communities. Often called the British Everly Brothers, The Hollies’ rich harmonies rivalled those of the Beach Boys. Of course, the trio known as the Bee Gees is one of the most successful musical acts of all time, with total sales of over 180 million albums. By now, everyone knows that the Bee Gees were the Brothers Gibb: Barry, Maurice and Robin. 10cc achieved the pinnacle of their commercial success in the seventies before splitting up in 1976.

Historically, however, the big moment in Manchester’s music history came on June 4, 1976 when the Sex Pistols arrived in Castlefield to play their legendary gig at the Lesser Free Trade Hall. While it is true that the audience at that gig numbered less than 42 people, several key figures who would be instrumental in shaping Manchester’s future music scene were present. These included Tony Wilson (founder of Factory Records), Bernard Sumner (of Joy Division and New Order), Mick Hucknall (Simply Red), Ian Curtis, Peter Hook and producer Martin Hannett (who would later from The Smiths with Johnny Marr). Shortly following the gig, Wilson founded Factory Records and promptly signed Joy Division.

Factory Records soon made a splash with signature Manchester musicians who played their own distinct sound. The record label created its own unique image as well, combining images of the industrial north with Andy Warhol-inspired pop art glamour. This formed a rather incongruous image that nonetheless caught on.

With bands like A Certain Ratio and The Durutti Column at the forefront, Factory Records became identified with a certain sound. However, the coup de grace was fashioned by Joy Division, which critics said successfully captured and «grimly defined» what it meant to be a Mancunian at the close of the seventies.

It was also at this time when The Fall, led by Mark E. Smith, began their groundbreaking run of producing unique, innovative and prolific hits that spanned the next three decades.

Following the footsteps of Joy Division, New Order embarked on their own odyssey that combined pop, rock and dance music and parlayed this into worldwide commercial success and millions of record sales.

Soon after, the musical act that would become ‘the definitive Manchester group of the eighties’ hit the ground running. The Smiths, led by Morrissey and Marr, created such iconic Manchester songs as «Rusholme Ruffians» and «Suffer Little Children.» Music critics noted that Morrisey’s lyrics were as explicitly about Manchester as the works of another great artist, the painter L.S. Lowry.

A point of clarification here, though. The famous American anti-war hippie musical from the late sixties, Hair, includes a song entitled «Manchester, England.» However, the mention of the city in the song’s title is somewhat irrelevant and serves mainly as punctuation in the song’s lyrics.

With the dawn of the nineties, the Manchester music scene again metamorphosed, some say the new energy was propelled by the drug ecstasy. The Hacienda night club, which was owned by Factory Records, became the new music hub and created the so-called «Madchester Scene,» fuelled by the music of Happy Mondays, The Inspiral Carpets and The Stone Roses. The 2002 movie «24 Hour Party People» by Michael Winterbottom aptly captured this period in Manchester’s music history.

After Madchester, much of the music scene’s energy died down but lots of local music groups still made their presence felt, such as Oasis, James, Take That, M People, 808 State, Elbow, Doves, Mr. Scruff, Drawn Boy and Michael McGoldrick. Of this group, Oasis emerged as the most popular act, with their Don’t Believe The Truth tour playing to over 1.7 million people around the world in 2005 and early 2006. It should be noted that The Fall continues to receive critical acclaim.

Today, with popular music venues such as the Manchester Evening News Arena, the Manchester Apollo and the Manchester Academy as well as over 30 smaller venues with their own musical acts, it will only be a matter of time until the next great Manchester musical act hits the scene.

Incidentally, the Manchester Evening News Arena, which is next to Manchester Victoria railway station, was recently voted as International Arena of the Year, edging out New York City’s famed Madison Square Garden. The News Arena has a seating capacity of 21,000 and is the largest arena of its type in Europe.

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Who are the Agents and the Company Behind the Transfer of Theo Walcott?

Theo is on the books of Key Sports Management, and is looked after by Colin Gordon the man who said «Football clubs and chairmen know who in the game is corrupt, so why do they still use them? I would question the motives of a large number of managers, chief executives and chairmen in the game».

In a week when sports management companies and player agents come under the spotlight after a statement issued by Mike Newell the manager of Luton town football club, we ask what is involved in a deal involving the transfer a 16 year old kid to a top premiership club?

Most regular fans who turn up week in week out to watch football in the uk don’t like to dwell to long on what they describe as «those vile leeches» that are behind the move of top players preferring to base there support and loyalty on the game of old played during the 70,s and 80,s.

The position of Southampton football club

Saints are in a corner when it comes to keeping Theo their hand being forced to sell by the footballers agent and management company, Those agents are rumored to have issued an ultimatum to Rupert Lowe, either agree a deal with Arsenal, or Walcott will exercise a release clause in his scholarship contract, meaning he will become a free agent and Saints will only get compensation from a tribunal this is expected to be around £500,000 with a follow on payment of £500,000 after a certain number of games.

The alternative is to sell, with Arsenal the front runners to bag the wonder kid after making an offer of £10 million.

Chelsea are believed to be keeping a close eye on developments with there chairman Roman Abramovich rumored to be ready to step in with an offer of £15 million.

So who could get what out of the Theo Walcott deal?

Taking the transfer of Wayne Rooney who moved from Everton to Manchester united for roughly £25 million during August 2004 as an example:

When Rooney joined United it was reported that Manchester United paid Rooney’s agent an extra fee – «an incentive» – to ensure they got their man.

United paid Proactive Sports Management a sum of £1.5m as recorded in the shareholders statement «Fees payable to Proactive Sports Management Limited in relation to both the acquisition of the player and negotiation of his personal terms», the amount was 2 x Rooney’s first year wage.

With such payments being made to player’s agent’s maybe it is up to the humble fan to speak out?

Just think where that extra 20% on the price of your season ticket next season maybe going.

As for Theo Walcott’s management company as well as the signing on money paid to Key Sports Management and there agent Colin Gordon they will also receive payment for arranging deals for image rights etc, Theo already has a boot deal with Nike gained while he was 14 but you can be sure of more deals and transfer requests to follow as his management company try to do «what is in the players best interest».

http://www.Theo-walcott.com

January 13, 2006

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