Champions League Final Preview – Manchester United Vs Barcelona

On the 27 May, Manchester United will battle with Barcelona in the final of this season UEFA Champions League at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico. Both teams have the credential and fire power to become this season European Champion. Manchester United can become the first team in 19 years to retain the trophy they won last year. Ac Milan was the last team to win back-to-back European Champion Club’s Cup (the name for the previous version of UEFA Champions League) in 1989 and 1990.

Both teams will be missing key players in the final through suspension and injury. Barcelona will be without Eric Abidal and Daniel Alves. Abidal was red carded in the second-leg semifinal against Chelsea, while Alves received his third yellow cards of the tournament in London. Darren Fletcher of Manchester United will miss the final after collecting a red card for a foul on Cesc Fabregas in the second-leg semifinal against Arsenal. Barcelona Rafael Marques is definitely rule out of the final due to injury on his left knee. However, Andreas Iniesta and Theiry Henry look set to miss out as well. Iniesta picked up a thigh injury in his side’s 3-3 draw at home to Villarreal. Henry is fighting to be fit after picking up a ligament injury in the game against Real Madrid.

Pep Guardiola, Barcelona’s manager, faces some difficult selection choice in defence due to injury and suspension. Alex Ferguson has fewer headaches among the two managers as he has almost a full squad at his disposal. Daren Fletcher being the only set back but he has enough quality in his squad to replace Fletcher.

This game will also feature a battle between two of the best footballer in the world at the moment, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Messi has been the key factor for the rise of Barcelona this season. Ronaldo maintained his momentum from last season to help Manchester United in winning several trophies this season. But for this season, the ultimate prize which both really wants is the UEFA Champions League.

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A Scary Thing Called Love in China

Introduction:

In China many young girls dissatisfied with the traditional Chinese man are seeking a foreign boyfriend, love and eventually a husband. In this article we will examine some typical case studies as seen in counselling sessions where young women come to seek solace, explanations and support after breakdowns from relationships with foreign men. To protect the identities of the clients some details have changed and names but the essential psychological trauma are common.

So why do many Chinese girls want foreign men? To answer this would take an article in itself so here I will just precis a short over-view. (See Dr. Myler’s article the Chinese Patient) First many of these girls come from the main cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Wuhan and Guangzhou (we discount Hong Kong as it is too Westernised) they have been exposed to a variety of Western media, movies, magazines, fashion and life-style influences. This media show the Western men as romantic, kind, supportive, handsome, sexual and strong, all very appealing attributes to many young girls ideas about Mr. Right. The Western men they meet daily in China are however not typical of the average American, Englishman or Europeans but are the educated, from higher social classes, above average income and alone in China for the most part. If you add these two elements together you get a good idea of how Chinese girls view Western men as something special. However as in cognitive dissonance they tend to ignore all the warning signs that they would normally associate with other relationships. In the West we would phrase this as rose-tinted-glasses or the «Halo Effect». Also most Chinese girls are less mature than similar aged girls in the West. They tend to have less experience with men in general and no sex education at school. It is amazing to ask even basic questions about pregnancy and sex and find they are unclear, confused and ignorant of even the basics of protection and disease. (Speaking to a 24 year old here is like talking to a 15 year old in the West – that is the best analogy for their maturity). In conclusion you may ask why they do not want to be with a Chinese man. Most have already had boyfriends finding that on average Chinese men are too traditional, controlling, uncaring and put their mother before the wife or girlfriend in all things. So with disappointments already in their mind they go off and seek the ideal Western man who they think will deliver them from their unfulfilled lives. One other important aspect with age is social pressure in China for a girl to marry before she is 26 years old. If they miss this deadline, then parents, friends and others all start a fear process of men will not want old women (they mean 30) and your babies will die if you have them too late. Of coarse this is all a non-sense in the modern world, but the girls all seem to believe beyond doubt that is you are 27 and above you have no chance of a good marriage. So many almost panic and marry the first man who asks – even if love is not in the equation. They quickly have a baby and then tell everyone how miserable they are in a love-less marriage with a man they can barely stand to touch them. Sad but often true here in China. So for these older single girls, Western men who care little about their age seem like manor from heaven.

The Scenario:

Most girls find a Western man in five distinct ways, first the work-place, many International companies set up offices in China to take advantage of cheap labour, inexpensive rents and huge potential home markets. Along with this they send their senior managers and staff to guide the Chinese workers in their practices. Many Chinese want to work for foreign companies as the pay is higher on average and have better working environments. The second is the teachers, at language schools, universities and other educational outlets the native speaking teacher is king. Teachers tend to be more out-going, confident and have a charisma that young girls do not usually see in their own teachers. Third is the club scene where young Western men, on short-term contracts, are looking for entertainment and company. Fourth the bars, much like the clubs but more relaxed atmosphere and less noisy. Finally the fifth and most popular way of meeting Western men is the internet. Chat sites and dating sites are in the hundreds here. Many girls from 18 years to 100 looking for Western boyfriends via this medium. Often with little of no English except written, so even when they arrive for that coveted date they cannot communicate sufficiently to make an impression. So with all these ways of meeting Western men why are so many of the girls frustrated by not finding a suitable man or date? Here we have to break the myth of Western men in the eyes of Chinese girls.

The Myths

The first myth concerns money, most Chinese girls think western men are rich. This is because on average even a teacher in a low income school will earn three times the monthly average of a Chinese teacher. However in many companies the foreigner is paid via his home-office at the rate he would be paid in the normal home position. In this case he will be earning considerable income compared to a Chinese worker doing the same task. This gives the false impression to girls that the man is wealthy at home. However for most foreign workers here at home they are middle class at best and many of course just working men. At home they would in a social scale of income be lower to middling at best. (I exclude the businessmen here). So while in China they can afford the best apartment, the best restaurants and clothing – at home this is clearly not the case in general.

The second myth is handsomeness. When you first come to China as a man the first thing you see is hundreds of pretty, delicate girls who are like spring flowers. In time familiarity tends to tone this down by noticing many are far too thin for western tastes, many have pock-marked faces and bad complexions. Then you begin to discriminate between the ok, the pretty and the beautiful. This is a natural process of becoming familiar with any race. So you have to imagine this in reverse, the Chinese girls tend to think most foreign men look handsome, however because the exposure is quite small and limited – they do not tend to become so familiar to them from a perception point of view. So they continue to see most of them as handsome, even though to the Westerner’s eyes the attractiveness seems to be an illusion. However if enough pretty girls tell you, you are handsome – then you may start to believe it. Often that calls for a dose of reality on the part of the man to stop vanity taking over your thinking.

The third myth is intentions. The Chinese girl listens to the Westerner’s sweet words, praise, support and caring attitude but unlike a Western woman who may be able to sift the salt from the sugar, the Chinese girls takes it all in as perfectly reasonable. Many are later shocked by the idea that he did not actually mean a lot of what was said and was in fact seducing them. Seduction by a Western man is more subtle over-all than a Chinese man’s approach. The Chinese man is more practical talking about security, family, home and long term goals. Where-as the Westerner is thinking more often about short-term goals of sexuality and companionship. Very few Westerners are looking for a wife, long term partner or commitments – they are here today, gone tomorrow.

The fourth myth is about a twist in history. Western men always have a good storey to tell of woe and misery in their love life. Chinese girls find this irresistible, their mothering instincts fairly bound into play. You can almost hear them saying, «oh poor you, let me comfort you». What they fail to appreciate is that these men already have failed relationships in the past or have girlfriends and wives waiting back home for them but this of course is rarely mentioned. So the history they hear is a fabrication on the truth for the benefit of their-would be suitors. You may think I am being a little harsh here on Western men’s integrity but this insight comes mainly from Chinese women who have a broken heart and a story of their own to tell.

Myth five – it is better in the West. From the media depicting life styles of the rich and famous you could forgive the Chinese girl for believing this is how everyone lives. Just as before I came to China I thought they would all be wearing Chairman Mao suits and short hair only to find modern western dress and a McDonalds at very street corner next to KFC. While certainly living standards in the West are over-all more advanced than China as a whole, this is not true of China’s main cities. Shanghai for example would rival any western city such as New York, London or Rome for night-life, art, events and living standards.

Examples:

Lily: 24 – Westerner (France) Met in bar, she was a virgin, he single and looking. After three months – he left her for another girl. After the relationship Lily discovers she is his 30th girl in two years.

Sophia: 22 – Westerner (American) already she had left an older man (50) who she loved but knew her family could not accept – so found a young man of 24. After six months his contract ended and without a goodbye left China. He told his French friend he could have her as he did not need her anymore and she was easy. The girl accepts the next man and marries him – despite the fact she is not in love.

Dolly: 27 – Western (Italian) after many promises of marriage she gives up her virginity to what she believes is her future husband. Two months later he is bored with her sexually and leaves her for another girl. Dolly makes a suicide attempt to try and keep him. He has no interest in her games of drama and goes back to Italy.

Elaine 25 – Westerner (English) having met when she was 21, she fell in love with a man of 51. After four years they are still together and happy. However he is her number one secret. She does not tell her work colleagues or her family and friends. He is unhappy being her secret but accepts the culture and tries to be patient. He knows at some point she will leave him under family pressure to marry a traditional boy.

Margaret 37 – Alone (No-one) despite some boyfriends when young she continues to dedicate herself to her business interests with little time for men. She is still living at her family home despite her success at work. She does not date. Recently she has met an English man who likes her – but she cannot commit as her family would never accept her even dating a foreigner. At her age no Chinese man is interested in her as she is seen as no longer viable for a baby. She sees her future as being alone.

Joan 32 – Westerner (Australian) having dated one foreigner after another she is alone most of the time. She believes that a Mr. Right is out there for her if she can just find him on the internet. Every night she searches for men – offering marriage and her sexual contact. Recently she has dated an Australian man (27) but he only wants a sex partner and so she agrees in the hope he will get to like her.

Daisy 23 – Westerners’ (many) she drifts from one man to another in the hope of finding the right one – most use her sexually and then dump her quickly. She talks of getting married to them almost in the first date and the first conversation. Western men quickly realise she is a desperate girl and easy to use her. At the moment she is alone after therapy to give her insight into her behaviour.

Conclusion:

The conclusion is obvious, Chinese girls get hurt and often. Many Chinese girls will read this paper and say, «well these girls are stupid» and maybe they are right, however when talking to these women they all have the same traditional thinking and want simply to find a good man to be with and more important to marry. The Western men love them and leave them in quick succession. It is not that Western men are bad people, they simply put less emphasis on relationships that they see as simply short term dating and that sexual contact is a normal part of a relationship even if it is not one they see as lasting or leading to something more. Of course many Western men enjoy the company of a gracious, sexy, smart Chinese girl and they too can fall in love and completely commit to the relationship like any other. Many do go on to marry their Chinese girlfriends and produce offspring (that are considered to be very beautiful in their looks having a mixture of East and West). Many of Asia’s top models, singers and actresses have mixed parentage and are seen as exceptionally good looking. This may also explain there psychological appeal to both Western and Chinese audiences. Another aspect of course is once the couple do try to make a go of things – the Western man now has to face her family. Westerners’ underestimate the power of family in China. If he cannot be accepted by the family he may find despite her deep love for him she will in fact end the relationship rather than lose her family. For a Chinese girl being ostracised by the family is about the worse thing that can happen to her. So if it is a choice between her Western boyfriend and her mama and baba – you can bet she will do as her family demands of her. Many Western men get very angry about how their girlfriend puts her family first and them second – they are not used to the situation where when her mama says do this and do that – the girl obeys – even if she is deeply in love – she will on most occasions do what the family tells her.

This article is not to put off Chinese girls and Western men having relationships but perhaps it will help to open their eyes to the realities of dating and falling in love with someone who has a different take on the world of relationships and love. Cultures can mix successfully and a happy future can pursue. However with divorce rates at an all time high in the West relationships can be seen as disposable and not permanent as in the past. Also as stated with strong family ties in China, Western men can too become victims of love and rejection when family takes a hand in the relationship. Some Chinese girls are strong enough to defy the wished of their parents in the knowledge that under the one baby policy in China, her parents only have one daughter – and they may not risk losing their future support when they are old because of a prejudice against her choice of husbands. Life is never easy and love is not always smooth.

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Australian Fishing Travel – Arnhemland Barramundi Nature Lodge

The Arnhemland Barramundi Nature Lodge offers one of the most amazing remote sport fishing adventures available anywhere in the world and continues to attract repeat guests year after year.

The wonders of Arnhem Land in Australia’s far north provide world-class fishing for Barramundi and more than 30 other sensational sport and reef fishing species. Catering primarily for those seeking an incredible fishing experience, the lodge also offers amazing bird watching and observance of some of the countries finest aboriginal culture.

The Location

Situated on the far north coast of Australia’s Northern Territory, Arnhem Land is the largest and most remote Aboriginal land reserve in the country. The Lodge is located on the coast near the Maningrida Aboriginal community, approximately 400 kilometres (60 minutes by air) to the north east of Darwin, the capital city of the Northern Territory.

Arnhem Land was declared in the 1930’s as inalienable Aboriginal freehold land, a unique title in its form. In the 1950’s the settlement of Maningrida was established at the mouth of the Liverpool River flowing into the Arafura Sea on Australia’s far north coast. Arnhemland Barramundi Nature Lodge is located on a private escarpment just 20 minutes from Maningrida.

Getting There…

Although accessible by road, seasonal flooding limits this option as it regularly creates impassable road conditions. Guests are in most cases flown in and out on scheduled flights via the regional airline, Airnorth. A private airstrip is available for those who choose to charter a private plane.

The Local Environment

The landscape ranges from rocky sandstone plateau and escarpment to the south, down the catchment through to gently rippled lowland plains to vast floodplains and coastal terrain.

Virtually endless open Eucalyptus forests are the dominant vegetation of the region comprising almost 40% of the area.

Around the estuarine areas of Maningrida are some 34 Mangrove species, mainly occurring as a fringe immediately adjacent to the Liverpool River system.

The Climate

The Lodge is located in the seasonal tropics and has a distinctive wet and dry season. Typically of tropical environment, the summer season is wet with almost all rain falling between December and April.

The dry season between June and September is notable for its complete lack of rain. The between months of October and November are known as periods of temperature and humidity change as the monsoon troughs start to move in from the south.

The Fishing

While the infamous Barramundi is the best known of the northern Australian sport fish, there are countless other species on offer in the region. Hard-fighting species likely to strike your lines include Barracuda, Blue Salmon, Cobia, Giant Trevally, Golden Trevally (GT’s), Longtail Tuna, Mangrove Jack, Queenfish, Red Emperor, Snapper, Saratoga, Spanish Mackeral and Threadfin Salmon.

A plethora of alternate reef fish can also found on the offshore reefs. Some species, including the famous Black Jewfish and Golden Snapper can be caught around the estuary rockbars similar to environments in which Barramundi are found. Trolled and jigged lures are extremely effective as well as live and fresh baits.

The Fishing Gear

The Lodge provides a wide range of quality tackle and equipment for guests including Shimano gear for Barramundi and offshore reef fishing.

Shimano Curado or Chronarch reels are mated to Shimano Barra Raider of Barra Raider Magnum rods. In some instances Shimano T Curve Tournament rods are also used. Reels are spooled with reputable brands such as Platil Millenium, Fins PRT or Platypus braided Lines.

Quality Shimano equipment is also used for offshore fishing including Stradi and overhead tgekota reels matched to a range of Shimano rods. Typically the reels are loaded with 15-20kg braided lines. Additionally, a variety of locally proven lures are provided. All tackle and equipment is provided to guests on a «replace if lost or damaged basis.«

No Tackle is provided but the following suggested tackle list is well worth considering before you pack your gear:

For Barramundi:

Rods : 1.8m (6 foot )Medium Heavy / Heavy action Graphite suit 6 – 10kg line such as Shimano Barra Raider, Shimano Tcurve Tournament.

Reels : Baitcaster reel ie; Shimano Chronarch, Calcutta or Curado 200 or 300 size or similar

Line : Good Quality Braid/ Gelspun Line 10 – 15kg (20- 30lb) is ideal, Platil Millenium or FINS are proven brands

Leader : 20- 30kg (40 – 70lb), 1 – 1.5m Wind on Monofilament or Flurocarbon.

Lures : Saltwater Grade lures ie Bomber Long A, Classic Barra 10 & 15+, Classic F18 Manta Ray, Rapala X Rap & Magnum, Killalure Barra Bait & Flatz Rat, Manns Stretch 12+, Halco Scorpions, Storm Minnows, Reidy’s Goulbourn Jack, Nilsmaster Spearhead, Rebel Poppers & Bill’s Bug Fizzers. Soft Plastic Shads 75 – 100mm & plastic prawns are also effective. Lures in the 70 – 150mm range are about right. Note: Heavy Duty hooks & split rings should be fitted to all lures.

Offshore (Blue-water) – Pelagic Fish:

Rods : 1.9 – 2.1m (7 foot) Fast action Medium Heavy / Heavy action Graphite suit 8- 15kg line

Reels : Threadline reel ie Shimano Stella, Stradic or similar 4000 to 6000 size alternately Shimano Calcutta 400 or 700 or Trinidad or Tekota overhead reels

Line : Good Quality Braid/ Gelspun Line 10 – 15kg (20- 30lb) is ideal. Platil Millenium & Fins PRT are proven brands

Leader : 20 – 30kg (40 – 70lb) Monofilament also single strand wire trace for Mackerel

Lures : Saltwater Grade lures ie Bomber Long A, Rapala Magnum, Rapala Countdown, Mackerel Mauler, Classic Bluewater & Classic 160, Reidy’s Judge, Halco Rooster Poppers, Raider Jigs & chrome casting slugs. Note: Heavy Duty hooks & split rings should be fitted to all lures.

Soft Plastic stick or jerk Shads 80 – 150mm (3.5 – 6″) & are also effective. Bluewater trolling lures in the 100 – 200mm range are about right. Also some casting slugs are also handy.

Fly Fishing:

Rods :9 or 10 wt outfit for Barra or 10 – 12wt for blue-water – 4 piece for ease of transport

Reels : Quality salt water grade aluminium disc drag reel that holds at least 150 – 200m of 15kg backing.

Lines : Floating WF, Intermediate WF & Hi-Density WF Sink tip lines will fit the bill.

Flies : Clouser Minnow 1/0 – 3/0, Pink Things, Black & Barred 2/0 – 5/0, Surf Candy, Fat Boys 4/0 – 6/0, Deceivers & Bendbacks plus some popper flies in assorted sizes.

Good colours include all white, Chartreuse over white, Gray over white & Fluro Yellow/ White, Yellow/Red, Pink/White or all Black. Make sure that you incorporate some flash material into your flies as well.

Leader : Anglers preferred leader configuration or standard IGFA configuration 8 – 10kg with a minimum shock/bite tippet of 20kg. Wire is only necessary if you wish to target mackerel species.

The Boat Fishing

The Lodge has a fleet of 8 boats currently for all guided fishing tours. They are superbly fitted out with new Evinrude E-Tec Motors, folding canopies, boarding ladders, VHF Marine radios, full safety kit (including life jackets) & EPIRB locating beacons. In addition; First Aid Kits, Rain Jackets and Satellite Phones are all provided on each boat.

For each guided tour a cooler complete with picnic lunch and soft drinks is packed fresh with ice. Large dispensers with fresh iced water are replenished daily on each boat.

The Lodge Accommodation

Accommodation at the Arnhemland Barramundi Nature Lodge is provided in two distinct options – Deluxe Ensuite Cabins and Tropical Habitat Safari Tents.

There are four purpose-designed cabins that provide all the comforts required including ensuite bathrooms and luxury king size beds. The cabins are situated right on the edge of the Tomkinson River Valley escarpment in a magnificent bush environment.

The cabins can be set up to accommodate couples (king size bed) or four individuals in extra long king singles.

Each of the cabins has a bar fridge, twin oscillating fans that are ideally positioned to take advantage of the interior breezy safari style design. There are six large fly-mesh windows that can be fully or partly closed down for privacy when required.

All of the cabins come equipped with spacious ensuite bathrooms with gas heated hot water, enclosed showers, porcelain basins and modern toilet facilities.

As an alternative to the cabins, the Lodge offers guests the option of safari tent accommodation set in a wonderful natural bush environment. These permanent tents can sleep up to four people. The safari tents have a shared bathroom with shower, basin, toilet plus hot and cold running water.

The Lodge Facilities

Perched on the fringe of a natural escarpment overlooking the Liverpool and Tomkinson River valleys, the Lodge offers a large communal living/kitchen/dining area with a bar and tasteful décor.

A massive 96 square meter timber deck patio extends directly out over the escarpment edge. The deck is ideally shaded and provides magnificent vistas and sunset views for guests as they enjoy a quiet cool drink after an adventurous day on the water.

A landline phone and fax is available to guests for emergencies and there are satellite phones provided on each of the eight tour boats. Given its remote location, there is no mobile (cell) phone service at the Lodge but there is coverage at the local aboriginal settlement (Maningrida).

The in-house chef prepares sensational culinary delights of fresh fish and mud crabs each day. Special dietary requirements can be catered for with advanced notice. The local water is not only suitable for drinking it may well be the best spring water you will ever have the pleasure to try.

Pre dinner snacks are served at the bar on your return to the lodge after a day of fishing. Guests can enjoy a refreshing ice cold drink while savouring delicious barra bites or other delicacies while the chef prepares your dinner.

Speaking of dinner – a two-course meal is served each evening in the main dining area of the lodge. Guests will enjoy a range of local delicacies including chilli mud crabs, pepper calamari as well as fresh fish and oysters.

The main lodge area is fully screened, with inside dining for 16 plus a comfortable lounge area. The dining room and the balcony are cooled by a series of very effective overhead fans.

The Barramundi Bar is located on the patio together with additional outdoor seating & dining for up to 24. The bar is stocked with a selection of quality beer, wine & soft drinks that are complimentary to guests.

If you prefer spirits, specialty wines or premium beer arrangements can be made prior to arrival for special beverage orders though it will be at an additional cost.

No alcohol is to be taken to or consumed in the local community of Maningrida.

What Should I Pack?

It’s a warm tropical climate so clothing should be lightweight and comfortable, especially to fish in. Light shoes are also recommended such as sneakers or deck shoes. Open shoes such as sandals for evenings are a good idea.

A pair of good quality polarised sunglasses are essential. The crystal clear waters allow for plenty of visibility with at decent pair of polarised sunglasses. Don’t forget to pack a wide-brimmed hat as well for sun protection.

There’ plenty of amazing things to capture with a camera as well – fishing (obviously), wildlife, scenery etc.

Don’t forget to pack plenty of sun protection – block out, long sleeved shirts etc. It’s also worth taking good quality insect protection. There are mosquitoes around in the evenings though the cabins have good quality insect screens to ensure a good night’s sleep.

The only other thing you will need (apart from your fishing gear) is your personal necessities such as medications, toiletries etc. Soap, linen and towels are provided.

In Conclusion…

This has to be one of the finest Barramundi adventures available in Australia and comes highly recommended. The fishing is extraordinary, due not only to the location but also the experience and knowledge of the lodge guides.

The accommodation is comfortable and easy. The dining is excellent, particularly the snacks served in the bar area prior to the evening meal. Overall the entire experience will almost certainly surpass all expectations.

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What’s the Most Popular Sport in the World?

A lot has been written on this subject and the question has never been definitely determined.

The problem is how to define popular. Analysts have based their assessments on various criteria such as most watched, most played, most talked about, most revenue-generating, largest television audience, number of stadia and facilities worldwide, tournaments held and merchandise sold. Because so many criteria have been used numerous lists of the most popular sports have been published. However the problem is made easier by the fact that soccer is often on top no matter what the criteria used.

A survey in 2001 by the International Football Federation (FIFA) shows that more than 240 million people play the sport in over 200 countries across the globe.

Soccer is older than most other games. Its origin goes back 3000 years to ancient China where a game was played with a ball of animal skins stuffed with hair or feathers which was kicked between poles 10 meters high and used for military training. Evidence from other ancient societies Greek, Mayan, and Egyptian show that kicking games like soccer were played in those cultures. The modern game as we know it began in 19th century England and the London Football Association was started in 1863 which established the first set of rules.

Soccer spread very easily. It began in a country known for its culture and systems and for ownership of an empire and it was easily exportable.

Today, soccer is the highest paying professional team sport. The prize money for winning the 2010 World Cup was $30 million (World’s Most Popular Sport- Most Popular Sports.net). The World Cup is the most widely viewed sporting event; 715.1 million people watched the final of the 2006 World Cup in Germany (The Real Truth: World Cup: Why Soccer Is So Popular Around The World by Cliff Potter, July 10, 2010).

The game is played in a team format and each team has 11 players. The idea is that a team tries to score goals by kicking the ball between the goalposts of the opponent through a combination of passing and dribbling. Pushing, shoving or defending by causing opponents to fall is a foul. In the end the team who scores more goals wins.

Soccer is very popular because it has certain attractions that appeal to both men and women, young and old:

First, it’s simplicity is appealing. All you need to play is a ball. There are no money barriers and it can be played on any surface, on the neighbourhood street, the beach or in the park. It offers hope to kids particularly in developing countries to use as a stepping stone to a better life. They can play in a sport their heroes play which increases the game’s popularity.

Second, soccer is a team sport. As much as 22 people can play in one game. It helps to promote team spirit and unite people around a common purpose.

Soccer also creates team rivalries and passion. Soccer has some of the most intense international rivalries such as between Argentina and Brazil, England and Germany and the US and Mexico, and intense Derbies such as between Boca Juniors and River Plate in Argentina, Manchester City and Manchester United in England, and Real Madrid and Barcelona in Spain.

Third, soccer stimulates national pride. It’s a dream to play for your country and people take more pride in their country when the national team succeeds. For example in Colombia when the national team plays both sides in the civil war lay down arms for 90 minutes and cheer on their team. On the other hand this pride can be taken to the other extreme so in 1969 El Salvador and Honduras went to war over a soccer game (called the soccer war).

Fourth, few countries have another viable sport to rival soccer.

Lastly, soccer is a good investment if you can get a team that goes far. That’s why $5 billion are spent by European clubs to buy the best talent available (Why Is Soccer Not Popular In The US? By Steve McCarthy, March 23, 2009). The purpose is to win trophies which in turn brings in big prize money.

There are different types of soccer i.e. futsal or indoor soccer and beach soccer which help to broaden its appeal. And there is women’s soccer which has expanded since the 1990’s and also has World Cup competitions.

It is also interesting to mention that in most lists of the most popular sports cricket often ranks second. This is surprising since it is only played in the British Commonwealth countries mainly, Australia, England, New Zealand, West Indies, India and Pakistan.

A lot has been written on the reasons why soccer has not become more popular in the US. In my opinion American sports fans are already preoccupied with their own sports like baseball, basketball and American football so there is no more room for another competing sport.

Despite the success of soccer as a world sport it has not been without its problems:

In recent years FIFA has been hit by allegations of bribery, corruption scandals and resignations. The most notable are allegations against some top officials for wrongdoing during World Cup 2018 and 2022 bidding campaigns.

Secondly, soccer has been taken over by commercialization. Recently there has been an inflow of money from rich businessmen in East Europe, America and the Middle East buying up top clubs and top players. The desire to win and make money has become the main objective with the attendant problems associated with the use of performance enhancement drugs.

Third, Europol (a European law enforcement agency) recently found evidence of match-fixing in more than 380 matches including the Champions League and World Cup qualifiers between 2008 and 2011. Over 300 more matches are under investigation, most from outside Europe.

Lastly, the good name of soccer is increasingly being damaged by racism and racial abuse between players or from fans directed at players.

Added to this is the long standing problem of soccer violence not only between rival fans but last week festivities by Paris St.Germain fans in Paris celebrating their team’s triumph in the league was marred by outbursts of violence.

In conclusion, soccer has come a long way since it was first invented and found to provide much entertainment for the millions of fans around the world. But the essence of the game is different from those days. Today the game has become big business. It’s losing its authenticity and eventually may lose its popularity. Then soccer will no longer be «King».

Victor A. Dixon

May 20, 2013

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Football Betting Tips For Beginners

Football is one of the most popular sports in the world and as a result many people bet on it. If you are a beginner and you want to bet on the world’s famous sport, here are tips that you should put into practice for you to be successful:

Bet what you know

While there are some betters who are gamblers and fans second, you should not be like them. As a beginner you should start betting on sports that you know something about.

For example, if you have been following Manchester United Football Club for a long time, you should start by betting on it before you move to other teams.

Time your wagers cautiously

In sports betting, odds fluctuate within a very short time; therefore, you should be very cautious. For example, the odds can fluctuate as a result of player injuries, breakthrough performances, and even as a result of action of other gamblers.

To be successful you should place your bets at the right time when you are more likely to make a profit.

Diversify your accounts

Online sportsbooks have different specialties. For example, there are books that specialize in European soccer leagues and others that specialize in the African league.

For you to get the most you should open accounts with multiple books so that you can have more options in terms of odds and the number of games that are available for betting. Having many accounts also makes it easy for you to shift your bankroll.

Make use of the customer service

Legitimate online bookmakers have well trained and professional customer service representatives who handle issues on behalf of the company. If you have any questions or problems, you should not shy away from contacting your bookmaker.

The good side is that there are many ways of contacting the customer service representatives. For example, you can contact them via phone, email, or live chat.

Start with simple bets

As a beginner you should stick to the basics and avoid complex issues such as between props, teasers, grand salami, and others. As rule of thumb you should start with basics.

Starting with simple bets protects you from losing money. The practice also gives you a strong foundation and you are able to learn how to bet like a pro within a very short time.

Take advantage of betting forums and message boards

These places have plenty of information that can be of great help to you; therefore, you should participate in them.

Camisetas de fútbol Equipamiento, ropa y calzado deportivo . Compra online ahora con los mejores descuentos. by Duncan Lancer

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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Gordon McQueen – The Manchester United Giant

The enmity between Manchester United and Leeds United may very well originate from the War of the Roses, but in soccer terms the Roses rivalry started back in the swinging sixties 1960 when Leeds United were led by Don Revie and Manchester United by Sir Matt Busby.

Kilbirnie born Gordon McQueen began his soccer career at St. Kilbirnie. Mirren who signed him as a 18 year old. Impressed by the hard working youngster, Leeds United manager Don Revie eventually lured him to the high flying Yorkshire club for £ 30,000 in 1973. The Scottish stopper quickly managed to establish himself in the first team at Elland Road and he was a regular member of the vastly talented Leeds United side that went on to win the League Championship in 1974. However, following Revie's departure to manage the England team, Leeds were declining and hatred between the Elland Road players started to bubble over.

Brought to Manchester Utd by new manager Dave Sexton for £ 495,000 in February 1978, the Scotland international became one of the first well known Leeds United players to sign for the Lancashire club. At Old Trafford, Gordon McQueen linked up with former Elland Road team mate Joe Jordan who had made the switch from Leeds United to Manchester United only a few weeks before. Evidently, Leeds United selling two of their biggest stars to old rivals Manchester United did not go down well with the Elland Road faithful. Incurring the wrath of the Leeds supporters, the two players were targeted with booing every time they were appearing against their old club.

While at Old Trafford, Gordon McQueen helped Manchester Utd win the FA Cup final in 1983 after a replay against Brighton and Hove Albion. A rough and rugged player, McQueen went on to make a total of 184 first class appearances for the Reds. The blond giant stayed at United until 1985 when he finally announced his retirement from the game because of persistent injuries.

Eventually going into soccer management, he took over the helm at Scottish club Airdrieoninans in 1987. Known for his brilliance in the air, Gordon McQueen won 30 full caps for his native country after making his first appearance for Scotland against Belgium in 1974.

"But Manchester United are Manchester United. They are the bigger of the two clubs, and always will be. Even going from a place like Leeds, with all their household names, you noticed a huge difference. Manchester United weren't the best, but they were the biggest. " Gordon McQueen quote.

Camisetas de fútbol baratas Tienda online, Comprar Camiseta futbol precio más barato y envío rápido. En nuestra tienda de camisetas de futbol baratas. by Christian Marker

England Expects a Decent Strikeforce

England take on Slovakia in a friendly on Saturday (17.00, Setanta Sports 1) then the Ukraine in a World Cup Qualifier on Wednesday (20.00, ITV1).

Here is the England squad in full (since the withdrawal of Ledley King):

Goalkeepers: David James (Portsmouth), Robert Green (West Ham United), Ben Foster (Manchester United) Defenders: Leighton Baines (Everton), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Joleon Lescott (Everton), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), John Terry (Chelsea), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), Glen Johnson (Portsmouth), Matthew Upson (West Ham United), Ledley King (Tottenham Hotspur). Midfielders: Gareth Barry (Aston Villa), Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Stewart Downing (Middlesbrough), David Beckham (AC Milan), Shaun Wright-Phillips (Manchester City), Aaron Lennon (Tottenham Hotspur), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool). Forwards: Carlton Cole (West Ham United), Peter Crouch (Portsmouth), Emile Heskey (Aston Villa), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United).

Our weakness is our strikeforce. Carlton Cole? Really? Heskey is an able foil, Crouch an impact sub… and Rooney is yet to find his best position or arguably form for his country. That is a severe paucity of options. Where are the world class English forwards? They are not abroad; are they being overlooked in the Premiership? Let’s have a look at the top scoring Englishmen…

Steven Gerrard 13

Peter Crouch 11

Kevin Davies 11

Gabriel Agbonlahor 10

Darren Bent 10

Frank Lampard 10

Carlton Cole 9

Jermain Defoe 9

Wayne Rooney 9

Michael Owen 8

Matthew Taylor 8

Andrew Johnson 7

Jason Roberts 7

Marlon King 6

James Beattie 5

Of these, those not included are Davies, Agbonlahor, Bent, Defoe, Owen, Taylor, Johnson, Roberts, King and Beattie. Let’s have a look at them…

Kevin Davies – What does he offer that Emile Heskey doesn’t? Well, goals, for a start. Heskey is arguably a better link man, better at providing and laying on chances – but Davies is good at holding the ball up, a real pain in the arse for defenders, and is scoring goals. He suffers from playing for Bolton; perhaps he would get more of a chance at a more fashionable club?

Gabriel Agbonlahor – He was included for the last game against Spain, as well as several other of Capello’s squads. However, he is on a long barren streak at the moment, and probably deserves his demotion to the U21s.

Darren Bent – Going by Capello’s maxim (which he seems to have abandoned in the case of Ben Foster) players will not play for England without playing regularly for their club. And as Bent is far from first choice at Spurs, he will suffer. His total of 10 goals is impressive for a bit part player, but his all round game is just not good enough for international football.

Jermaine Defoe – Injured – but assured of a role if fit. Who would have envisaged a time when Defoe was so sorely missed?

Michael Owen – Capello clearly doesn’t fancy him – and he’s not fully fit. And he’s lost most of his pace. But for my money he is still the best finisher England have, and should be in the squad. If he’s fit, who else would you rather throw on with twenty minutes remaining and needing to nick a goal?

Matthew Taylor – He is a midfielder. Which says a lot for the English strikers.

Andrew Johnson – There is perhaps a case here, but 7 goals in 26 appearances is hardly setting the world on fire. He is essentially a poor man’s Defoe (or Owen) and is different to our other strikers – just not good enough!

Jason Roberts, Marlon King, James Beattie – They are simply not international class. All big, bustling strikers they are already behind the likes of Davies and Cole who themselves are short of international class.

So there we are – we just don’t have any good strikers. It’s not Capello’s fault – aside from possibly Owen, and only when he’s fit, it’s difficult to make a case for anyone who’s been excluded.

At the back we look extremely strong – if a player with the quality of Jonathan Woodgate does not make it you know you have strength in depth. Likewise in midfield, where although the perennial Gerrard/Lampard debate is yet to be resolved they are both indisputably great players, and are ably supported/backed up by Barry and Carrick in the middle. Wide you have a multitude of options right, with SWP, Lennon, Walcott, Beckham, and Gerrard – one of whom may play left.

But Capello must have a big headache up top. It’s likely he will play Gerrard off Rooney, which is potentially exciting – but other than that combination (and that will obviously remove Gerrard’s dynamism from the midfield) there is little to whet the appetite. Heskey and Cole? No thanks.

Oh how we long for the days of Shearer, Sheringham, Owen, Fowler, Ferdinand, Wright, Collymore, Le Tissier, Cole – at one stage they were all available for England selection. That seems incomprehensible now; with that embarrassment of riches Carlton Cole would be seeking a second nationality.

Fortunately the likes of Slovakia and the Ukraine should not expose our lack of striking options – but we need to find a potent pairing in time for WC 2010.

Las Camisetas de fútbol de adidas se encuentran entre las preferidas de muchos equipos. Descubre por qué visitando nuestra colección en la web. by Matthew Rowe

Limos in the North West

There are some superb limos to be found in the North West. On a par with limousine hire London is limousine hire Manchester with some of the finest Hummer H2 limos to be found anywhere in the UK. This includes the silver triple axle Hummer H2 limousine, an amazing yellow triple axle Hummer H2 called the Humbee and the silver Hummerzine which is the tallest Hummer H2 limousine in the UK. Manchester is also home to the awesome Ferrari F1 360 limousine, an amazing 6 seater limousine that is officially the fastest limousine in the world as well as the only pink Chrysler C300 Baby Bentley limousine in the whole of the UK. The fantastic Audi Q7 limousine and Range Rover Sport limousine can also be hired in the North West along with the BMW X5 limousine and a quality selection of stretch Lincoln Town Cars.

There are also some of the best fire engine limos to be found in the UK mainly in Manchester and Liverpool and probably the greatest collection of Jeep Expedition limos to be found anywhere. All are brand new and available in black, white, pink and silver and kitted out with the latest mod cons and gadgets such as DVD players, Flat Screen TV's and Surround Sound Systems.

The North West comprises five counties namely Cumbria, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire. Major towns and cities in the North West include Chester, Crewe, Macclesfield and Warrington (Cheshire), Barrow-in-Furness and Carlisle (Cumbria), Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Salford, Stockport and Wigan (Greater Manchester), Blackburn , Blackpool, Burnley and Lancaster (Lancashire) and Liverpool, St Helens and Wirral (Merseyside).

Limousine hire in the North West covers all these areas and more and can be rented for any occasion or event. This includes hen nights, stag nights, school proms, weddings, corporate events, airport transfers, birthdays, race days, shopping sprees, anniversaries or maybe just a night out on the town. In fact stretch limos in the North West can be used for practically any occasion.

It is always a good idea to book your limousine early, in fact the earlier the better. This is particularly true for key dates such as weddings and school proms as these events are the most popular for limousine hire. By booking early not only will you avoid disappointment and hire the limousine you want but you may also get a very competitive price. This is because limousine companies are always keen to rent their limos out rather than have them sitting in the depot and there is no way of knowing how busy a particular day is likely to be. You will find that as that date approaches and demand increases the cost of the rental will increase considerably, in some case as high as 50 percent. Another way to keep limousine hire prices down is to rent midweek, again demand is the key. The most popular days of the week for limousine hire are Fridays and Saturdays. Therefore by booking on a less popular day such as a Sunday prices are likely to be much lower.

Las Camisetas de fútbol de adidas se encuentran entre las preferidas de muchos equipos. Descubre por qué visitando nuestra colección en la web. by Amar Shah

The Meeting Venues and Meeting Rooms of Manchester

Manchester is one of the fastest growing cities of the UK. The service sector is one of the most thriving sectors of the city as it draws a lot of investment. Manchester is famous for its banks and financial institutions, its service industries, its department stores and shopping malls. As a result, it is visited by a large number of people for business purposes. Manchester is a flourishing commercial center of UK. Several business executives meet in Manchester for thrashing out business strategies and plans. The many meeting venues and meeting rooms of Manchester provide a suitable platform for figuring out corporate policies.

Renowned Meeting Rooms of Manchester

When talking about the meeting venues and meeting rooms of Manchester, a mention must be made of the Red Rooms meeting rooms. The Red Rooms conference rooms are situated in the Bruntwood office buildings of Manchester. The Red Rooms charge you according to an hourly basis or a half day basis or a full day basis. Food charges are included in the duration charges. The Red Rooms offer state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment for your use in the conferences. The Red Rooms are one of the most renowned meeting venues and meeting rooms of Manchester.

Other renowned meeting venues and meeting rooms of Manchester are situated at the Spring Gardens, Manchester; New Mount Street, Manchester; Exchange Quay, Manchester; King Street, Manchester; Portland Street, Manchester; Salford Quays, Manchester; and at other eminent locations in the business districts of Manchester. The meeting rooms at the Manchester Airport are also excellent meeting venues. Some of the serviced offices in Manchester make for excellent meeting venues too. Meeting room hire charges in Manchester are pretty high.

Necessary Meeting Equipment in the Conference Venues of Manchester

Most of the meeting rooms of Manchester and the conference venues of Manchester are equipped with flipcharts, whiteboards, computers with Internet facilities, facsimile and photocopying facilities, projectors, video conferencing facilities, etc. These gadgets and equipment intend to make your meeting lively and productive. But the software that’s designed to make each meeting a thumping success is the online diary planner. If you get into any of the meeting rooms of Manchester or function rooms of Manchester and sit at any computer or laptop that’s connected to the Internet, you’ll be able to avail of the services of the fantastic online diary planner. While allowing you to upload into it all sorts of meeting data and documents, the online diary planner helps you to retrieve data from it at the click of a mouse. It supports the importing of email identifications into it from email applications and it works across different time zones. It helps you to schedule meetings effortlessly and be in complete control of the meeting-data management process. The online diary planner helps you to spearhead the meeting conducting and presentation processes as it turns you into a meeting-management expert.

Take the online diary planner into the meeting rooms and meeting venues of Manchester if you want to add a new perspective to your meetings. The best online diary planners for meetings and conferences are cited in Wikipedia at Online diary planner for your convenience. Wikipedia can be trusted to give truthful and unbiased information about everything.

ENVÍO y DEVOLUCIÓN GRATIS – Gran colección de Camisetas de fútbol oficiales – Descubre camisetas de equipos y selecciones europeas en camisetafutboles.com. by Damien Ghosh