FC Barcelona – The Cruyff Years

Johan Cruyff is a legendary football player known the world over for his aggressive and intelligent style of play. Though he had success in his earlier years, it is when he joined FC Barcelona in 1973 that his star really began to shine.

Cruyff began his career in his home country of the Netherlands playing for AFC Ajax. There he led the team to many victories and memorable performances, but was eventually sold to FC Barcelona for a hefty sum. Cruyff wasted no time winning over the Barcelona fans, stating to the press that he chose Barcelona over their rivals Real Madrid because he didn’t want to play for a team associated with former Spanish dictator Francisco Franco. He even named his son Jordi, a traditional Catalan (the region of Spain in which Barcelona is found) name.

Cruyff’s years playing for FC Barcelona were truly memorable and made him an icon. In his first year with the team, he helped them win La Liga for the first time in fourteen years (beating Real Madrid on their own turf along the way) and was also named European Footballer of the Year. It was during this time that he also scored one of his most memorable goals, called «The Phantom Goal» or «Le but d’imposible de Cruyff» (The Impossible Goal of Cruyff). In a match against Atlético Madrid, the football was already past the far goal post and was at about neck height when Cruyff leapt into the air, twisting so that he was facing away from the goal and kicked the ball into the goal with his right heel. This move among others propelled him to godlike status in the eyes of football fans.

Cruyff then spent many years away from FC Barcelona as a player and manager, until finally returning to the club as manager in 1988. When he returned to Barcelona, Cruyff brought with him the so-called «Dream Team». This elite squad was composed of Spaniards Jon Andoni Goikoetxea, Jose Mari Bakero, Josep Guardiola, Txiki Beguiristain, along with international stars Romanian Gheorghe Hagi, Bulgarian Hristo Stoichkov, Dane Michael Laudrup, Brazilian Romario, and Dutchman Ronald Koeman.

Under Cruyff’s direction, the Dream Team went on to win four consecutive La Liga titles from 1991 to 1994. They won the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1989 and the European Cup in 1992 at Wembley Stadium with a famous free kick goal courtesy of Ronald Koeman. In 1990, the Dream Team won a Copa del Rey, the European Super Cup in ’92, and three Supercopa de Espana.

Cruyff remains FC Barcelona’s most successful manager to date, with eleven trophies to his name. He also has the distinction of being the club’s longest serving manager. He continues to be an advisor for FC Barcelona president Joan Laporta, whom he openly endorsed during the elections. To this day, he is still revered by FC Barcelona fans, who call him «El Salvador» (The Saviour) for his successful run as both player and coach at the club.

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3 Ways to Use Spring to Help You Through Your Grief

When we’re grieving, sometimes all we want is a fresh start. You can’t undo your loss, so the next best thing is to move forward. Spring is a time of «Rebirth.» It’s the perfect time of year to get a fresh start on anything. This spring, take advantage of the changing season to help you through your grieving process.

1. Make Time for Spring Cleaning

There’s something about the beautiful weather and warmer temperatures that makes us want to clean in the springtime. Clean anything; a room, your car, a closet, your entire house, your mind. This is a great opportunity to organize or update your memories. Have a shoebox of photographs you’ve been meaning to display? Take time to put together a new memorial with the pictures. If you’re feeling really ambitious, brighten up your house with new paint colors. Research shows that certain paint colors have an effect on our mood. Freshen up your living room with a sunny yellow accent wall or cover your bedroom walls with a cheery green color.

2. Plant Something

Spring is the perfect time to put your green thumb to the test. If you have room in your yard, plant a memorial garden in honor of your loved one. If planting an entire garden isn’t feasible, start small with a single plant. The growth and beauty of the plants or flowers will give you inspiration each day to live life. Spending time outside will help you to clear your mind and be at peace with your thoughts.

3. Start Something New

There’s always more going on during the spring and summer months. Find out what’s happening in the community, or think of a new hobby to try on your own. Pick your activity and make time for it at least once a week. Your new activity will give you something to look forward to and will help take your mind off of your loss, even if it’s only for an hour a week.

The spring months can actually be hard on a grieving person. It’s hard to watch everyone else moving forward with the changing season if you’re not ready. But keep in mind, just because you’re starting something new or changing things up doesn’t mean you have to leave anything behind. Your loved one would want you to enjoy the relief from the cold and take advantage of the wonderful things that spring has to offer.

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Barnsley FC – Neil Redfearn, A Midfield General

Arguably Barnsley's most influential and talented footballer, Neil Redfearn was instrumental in helping the Tykes achieve promotion to the English Premier League in 1997.

Redfearn's career stretched from 1982 to 2008, he played 851 games and scored 176 goals. He started is long career at Bolton Wanderers but it was a move from Oldham Athletic to Barnsley in 1991 that catapulted him to new heights. Redfearn had a great match day engine and having all the traits required of a good quality midfielder he was given the club captaincy as well as becoming the regular penalty taker for the club. In an era where drinking was not discouraged and an athletes diet was not as strict as it is today, Redfearn rarely missed a game through injury or illness.

Sat in the second tier of English football, manager Danny Wilson began to assemble a Barnsley team that was able to challenge for a place in English football's holy grail, the Premier League. Clint Marcelle, Andy Liddell, Paul Wilkinson, Matty Appelby and John Hendrie all came into Wilson's side in the search for promotion.

In the 1996/97 season Redfearn as ever lead by example. His superb attitude on and off the field was admired by everyone associated with the club. Barnsley got off to a terrific start to the season winning their first five games. The Tykes would only win one of their next eight drawing five and losing two. The Midfield-General was setting his standards high on the pitch, talking with his feet he had already scored eight league goals going into the middle of November.

A double winning season over rivals Sheffield United and a 2-0 home win against Manchester City helped Wilson's men secure second place and automatic promotion to the Premier League. It was Redfearn's and Barnsley's finest hour. The club captain missed just one game all season and scored 17 goals, he was a club hero.

The Premier League was not a success for the Tykes, relegation lead to the departure of Wilson to rivals Sheffield Wednesday and Redfearn left for £ 1 million to Chartlton Athletic. Redfearn scored a brace in a controversial 3-2 home defeat to Liverpool. He showed that he had the ability to play in the top tier of English football.

In what was a colorful career, Redfearn was a superb servant to the game. He knew where the back of the net was. There are plenty of managers up and down the country that would love to have a player of Redfearn's ability, commitment and professionalism amongst their ranks today.

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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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