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US Still Fair Weather Football (Soccer) Fans 1

Posted on July 31, 2014 by Jeremy Biberdorf
American fans were locked in during the 2014 World Cup, but will they stay excited about soccer over the next four years?

American fans were locked in during the 2014 World Cup, but will they stay excited about soccer over the next four years?

To see the images that flooded American news and social media, one would think that the US lives and breathes football (well…”soccer”). It’s true, United States patriotic spirit was in full bloom during the Americans’ solid run in the most recent World Cup. So what does this mean for lasting nationwide interest in the beautiful game?

It would seem that sentiment is at an all-time high for the red, white, and blue. Never before have so many identified themselves as football fans. But when the rubber meets the road, most US football analytics have not increased within the past decade. The nation has spent more on football merchandise since the 2010 world cup, this much is true. But rabid fandom seems truly dilute nationwide. While some Americans know the names of their nation’s top players, and some could even tell you the latest UK football odds, only 1.2  tickets to this year’s Cup were sold for every 2000 residents. Read the rest of this entry →

25th Anniversary of the Hillsborough Stadium Disaster 3

Posted on April 18, 2014 by Scott Huntington

Earlier this week marked the 25th anniversary of the worst stadium-related disaster in English sports. On April 15, 1989, the Hillsborough Stadium disaster occurred during an FA Cup semi-final match between Nottingham Forest and Liverpool at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough Stadium. The disaster resulted in the deaths of 96 people, who were honored at a ceremony at Anfield Stadium, the home of Liverpool Football Club. While Liverpool currently sits atop the English Premier League, this week serves as a period to remember the 96 people lost at Hillsborough Stadium 25 years ago.

hillsborough_stadium_disaster_17_october_2011

The Tragedy

25 years ago, the FA committee selected Hillsborough Stadium as the neutral site for the FA Cup semi-final match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest. At that time, most English stadiums included high, steel fencing around the pitch in order to prohibit any rushing of the pitch, either friendly or hostile. Standing room for supporters was provided just beyond the fence. On the day of the disaster, only one terminal was opened for Liverpool fans to enter through, as a precaution to keep them separated from the Nottingham Forest fans. Massive overcrowding made the open terminal dangerous to both those who were attempting to get into the match and those who were being turned back for not having a ticket. In order to avoid injuries in the original entryway, police decided to open an exit gate that was designed to service departing fans.

The exit gate led to a narrow pathway to which fans flocked when it opened. Unfortunately for many fans, the narrow pathway led to the steel fence. As thousands of fans entered, many of them were pressed up against one another and a human crush formed. The police that were supposed to be stationed at the entrance of the gate should have cut off the flow of fans and direct them to another way in, but there were no policemen stationed outside the gate for unknown reasons.

Read the rest of this entry →

Hosts Tipped for World Cup Success 4

Posted on April 02, 2014 by Pete South
Called by some the next Pele, Neymar will try to make Brazil the first host to win the World Cup since 1998.

Called by some the next Pele, Neymar will try to make Brazil the first host to win the World Cup since 1998.

With just three months before the start of the tournament, many soccer fans will have one eye on this summer’s World Cup in Brazil. While there is still plenty of twists and turns before the start of the tournament in June, the betting odds are beginning to give punters an idea on who could go on to lift the famous Jules Rimet trophy in Brazil. With the world’s gaze descending on the colorful South American country, the excitement is building ahead of a World Cup that looks set to be one of the most keenly-fought tournaments in recent memory.

While Spain will head into this World Cup as the defending champions and winner of the past two European Championships, the betting odds are tipping host nation Brazil to win the tournament for a sixth time. The hosts are considered to have the best chance to win the World Cup despite not winning the tournament since 2002. With the help of the home fans and a talented squad, Brazil have been given odds as short as 3/1 with some bookmakers.

Not since 2002 have Brazil boasted a squad packed with the same sort of talent that saw them win their fifth World Cup title, led by Ronaldo’s incredible goal scoring exploits in Japan and South Korea 12 years ago. While Ronaldo now spends much of his time as a Team PokerStars SportsStar -representing the brand who also took over Full Tilt Poker to make them the biggest online poker provider- the former striker will be hoping to watch on from the sidelines as the new Brazil side look to repeat the success achieved by himself and the rest of that 2002 side. Read the rest of this entry →

Summer 2014: 5 Reasons to Be Psyched About Sports 3

Posted on March 29, 2014 by Dixie Somers

The 2014 Soccer World Cup highlights a busy sports summer.

As if a cold and snowy winter isn’t enough reason to look forward to the summer, the months of June, July and August 2014 promise something for just about all sports fans.

There is never a bad time to be a sports fan because there are great events spread throughout the year, but this summer should be especially great for fans across the board. Some think that the world of sports slows down in the summer and there isn’t anything worth watching—how wrong they are! If you can’t get enough sports, prepare yourself for an awesome lineup and get psyched for sports this summer. Read ahead for the best events to keep an eye out for:

2014 Golf Men’s U.S Open
The U.S Open is one of the toughest and most prestigious golf tournaments played on the PGA Tour every year. This year’s edition of the tournament will take place June 12-15 in Pinehurst, North Carolina. It will be the third time the U.S Open was held at the No. 2 Course at Pinehurst.

2014 FIFA World Cup
The World Cup is the most watched sporting event in the world, and the 20th tournament will begin on June 12. The entire tournament will last just over a month, and it will be played at 12 different arenas throughout Brazil. There is nothing quite like watching the national soccer teams of 32 country battle it out for one of the most prestigious prizes in professional sports. Read the rest of this entry →

The Special One 1

Posted on February 26, 2014 by Scott Huntington

In the home stretch of a Premier League title race, Jose Mourinho has Chelsea FC in the hunt for two prominent trophies, which is nothing new. Now in his second spell with the English soccer club, the self-proclaimed “Special One” is undoubtedly one of the most prominent names in coaching.

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Never one to bite his tongue, Mourinho’s time as manager of some of the world’s best teams has been accompanied by a fair share of controversy and scuff ups, but success has rarely eluded the Portuguese man. And while we get ready to witness what ending this season has in store for Chelsea, let’s take a look at the managerial career of the loved and hated manager.

Making a Name in Portugal

For the Portuguese man, it was only natural to begin his managerial career in his home country. After assistant positions with Sporting CP, Porto and Barcelona, Mourinho landed his first job in charge of a club at Benfica in 2000. But after a very short time there and a disagreement with the new club president, Mourinho left to become manager of Uniao de Leira. While in charge of Uniao for over a year, Mourinho took the club to its best ever finishes in the first division of Portugal. Read the rest of this entry →

Red-Faced Webster and Red Card Carroll 1

Posted on February 08, 2014 by Daniel Lofthouse
Andy Carroll

Andy Carroll

In their recent encounter with Swansea, West Ham won by 2-0 to come out victorious, but at the cost of a red card for West Ham striker Andy Carroll.

Red Card
As a result of the red card, Carroll will now be forced to miss matches with Aston Villa, Norwich and Southampton, a fact which is certain to be playing on his mind, but also on the mind of manager Sam Allardyce, as Carroll set up both of the two goals scored against Swansea.

Similarly, having only played 5 games this season, and only 15 games in the 12 months between March 2013 and Feb 2014, many are frustrated that Carroll has only been a regular fixture a handful of times, despite the player having so much potential.

Appeal Process
The decision for the red card came in the 59th minute by referee Howard Webb, a decision which the Hammers disagreed with.  As a result, West Ham attempted to repeal the decision. In support of the appeal, manager Allardyce has stated that Webb had made an “obvious error”, but that “There has to be somebody to look at that in the cold light of day and say that is certainly not a red card”.

Therefore, the appeal went ahead, but was unfortunately dismissed by the FA under the grounds that the club could not put a panel of 3 people who could explain why the referee had made a bad decision in their decision to send the Hammer striker off after making contact with Swansea’s Flores’s head.  Read the rest of this entry →

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    • Rod Carew: Hitting Machine
      July 5, 2014 | 3:42 pm
      Rod Carew

      Rod Carew

      With the Major League All-Star Game being played this year in Minnesota, we recognize as the July Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month one of the best hitters of the last half a century who was named to 18 straight All-Star teams, including in each of his 12 seasons with the Twins.

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