The major innovations which transformed football for the better

In its infancy, football was a sport which seemed a little complicated to play and to understand the rules of. Fortunately, as time has passed and its popularity has exploded, the game has become easier on the eye, fairer to both attack and defence and a little more accessible, despite the huge amounts of money currently involved. Here, we look at some things which have made it all possible:

The offside and backpass rules

One came nearly a century after the other, but both have had a profound impact on the way in which the game is played. The offside rule, introduced at roughly the same time as modern football’s invention, dictates that an attacking player cannot go for the ball if they start their run ahead of all the opposing team’s players.

The backpass rule, which is less than 50 years old, was created to try and make defending a little tougher. Ever since its inception, it states clearly that goalkeepers aren’t allowed to catch direct passes in the air. This rule is seldom broken during a typical match, but the same can’t be said for the offside rule!

Artificial grass surfaces

Something introduced to the game a little more recently; artificial grass pitches were of dubious quality when they were first rolled out. Thankfully, they are now deemed to be far better to play on, plus they’re seen as being very convenient for teams who play in countries where harsh winters are the norm such as Russia and Ukraine.

About the proliferation of artificial pitches, a spokesperson from Hitechturf.co.uk said: “Technology in artificial grass has come on a long way since the late 80′s and artificial grass pitches are now manufactured from polyethylene rather than nylon; this has meant that these new turfs have been approved by FIFA and UEFA.”

All-seater stadia

Concerns over overcrowding on the terraces of British football grounds, not to mention a few high-profile incidents such as the Hillsborough disaster saw an inquiry into the state of football venues, the Taylor Report, take place. Since it was released, it was recommended that all football grounds in the UK hosting professional teams should convert their terraces into seating.

The majority of teams obliged, and as a result, many grounds are now safer and more comfortable places to watch the game. They’re also better for young fans who might have had difficulty in being able to get a good view of what actually happens on the pitch, while other major footballing nations including Italy, Spain and Germany have followed suit.

Sporting pedigree

Football and cars have long been completely synonymous with one another.

Think of George Best grinning to the cameras as he opens the front passenger door for yet another leggy blonde. Think of Harry Redknapp giving an impromptu interview to a television reporter on transfer deadline day. Think of the open-top bus parades in the spring, and traffic crawling to Wembley on cup final day. Think of Mario Balotelli’s camouflage-style sports car, resplendent and taking pride of place in the car park at the training ground.

You probably have many footballing memories in which cars play an important part. Maybe yours was littered with splatters of mud and grass after a hard-fought win on a Sunday morning, with your dirty boots festering on the back seat. Maybe you remember climbing in and turning on the heating after a freezing cold afternoon in the stands, clutching a juicy hotdog you picked up from a van outside the ground before turning on the radio to hear the classified results. Maybe your car carried four or five of you and your mates up the motorway for a cracking away day: three points and a terrific night out to follow.

Wherever the beautiful game has gone, cars have never been too far behind. There are a number of sports cars from Mercedes which will give you an incredible amount of street cred, and models such as the CLA allow you to bring some of the glitz and glamour of football into your life, at a more affordable cost.

Covered in a sleek, svelte body, a tremblingly powerful, yet efficient four-cylinder engine is the stuff of dreams; making you the envy of your pals at Thursday night training for sure. Great suspension keeps it as lithe and agile as any top level athlete, and on the inside the CLA is technologically ahead of the curve, sparing nothing to bring you the very latest in automobile innovation.

Alloy wheels and a sports exhaust give this car panache, bringing to mind the style and swagger that football fans have always brought to urban British culture. Incredible aerodynamic performance gives the CLA an edge over rivals, combining the muscularity of a gnarled centre-half with the speed and precision of a razor-sharp striker: the perfect footballing vehicle if ever there was one!

Football Stars Cars

We all know how much the modern day footballer likes to show off their considerable wealth. And what better way to impress a potential WAG than driving about town in a spanking new flashy sports car. A Premier League training ground car park looks more like a Ferrari showroom these days with players willing to spend a six figure sum just to make the right impression.

Having just one of these beauties would be preposterous of course. Most of the top footballing stars these days have a garage full of them. Well if you are earning over one hundred grand a week you have to spend it on something don’t you?

Let’s have a quick look at what some of the top players in the world are driving about in these days and dream about what you can have if you ever win the lottery!

Image source: http://www.autoweb.co.uk

football stars cars

My Soccer Space – Strongbow

We believe in a hard day’s work. We believe in overcoming obstacles. We believe in giving it your all. We believe in a pint afterwards, in your local, with your mates. We believe in banter. We believe a pint of Strongbow tastes better after a hard day’s work. We believe you should earn it.

Strongbow’s Earn It campaign is giving you the chance to earn your next pint. We want you to rise off your couches and bar-stools, and take up our challenge. Whether you fancy yourself the funniest bloke in the pub, or the fastest, or the fittest, there is a challenge for you. So that, above all, everyone can have a shot at a little bit of glory. To see the Earn It video watch it here www.strongbow.com/#/watch

If you are a traditional sort and have always fancied yourself something of a cricketer, our cricket challenge might be right up your wicket. The goal is to stop six deliveries. ‘Alright’ you think ‘ easy enough’, but we aren’t finished, its six deliveries from England’s all time highest international wicket-taker Jimmy Anderson. Anderson has represented England in over eighty test matches and over a hundred and sixty One Day Internationals. This is a steep challenge, even for the most seasoned of amateur cricketers.

If cricket isn’t your game, and you are left cold by the Ashes, you can try your luck at our penalty challenge. Step up to the mark, stare down the keeper, shoot, score, then home for a Strongbow. The ultimate bragging rights. Do you have what it takes to beat our keeper?

Maybe the toughest challenge of them all for all you fit blokes. If you like to be cold, muddy, tired and sore, you might have a shot at cracking Tough Mudder, the hardest obstacle based endurance course going. Running over twelve miles, and traversing obstacles from monkey bars, walls of fire, ice baths and lots and lots of mud, this is not an event for the faint of heart. Are you tough? Prove it, crack it, earn it.

We aren’t all triathletes, or sports stars, or cricketers, but down to a man, we all think we are funny. There isn’t a bloke in the pub who doesn’t have a few jokes up his sleeve. If you are the one who brings the banter in your group, who consistently gets your mates rollings off their bar-stools, then maybe you are the man for our stand up challenge. You’ll need some brass in you to endure the bright lights, full house and stoney silence of our comedy club. Can you get the crowd going? Make us laugh, and maybe you’ll be able to go home and tell the missus that you really are the funniest man in Britain.

See all these and more on our website. Try the Strongbow TV advert if you need any more motivation!

So the gauntlet has been thrown down. Get yourself moving, get out of your comfort zone and no matter how you do, win or lose, rain or shine, victory or defeat, you’ll have a bit of banter about it afterwards, in the pub, with a pint of Strongbow.

Champions League Final Preview

Wembley evening

Saturday evening will see Wembley Stadium host the first ever all German Champions League Final. Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, this seasons two outstanding teams, will go head to head in what is likely to be a heated affair in front of 90,000 eager fans and millions of TV viewers worldwide.

If the recent league fixture between these two massive Bundesliga rivals is anything to go by then Italian referee Nicola Rizzol will have a busy evening in London. There is no love lost between these two with even Dortmund head coach Jurgen Klopp and Bayern sporting director Matthias Sammer clashing on the side-lines in the recent 1-1 draw. Bayern had five players booked and full-back Rafinha sent off as tempers flared throughout the 90 minutes.

Both sides have looked in impressive form leading up to European footballs showpiece event. Dortmund brushed much fancied Real Madrid aside at home before squeezing through 4-3 over two legs. Bayern meanwhile were even more impressive battering favourites Barcelona 7-0 over two legs. Domestically the Munich club have been almost invincible. They suffered just one defeat in 34 games finishing a massive 25 points ahead of Dortmund. With this in mind it’s fair to say Bayern Munich go into the Final as favourites with most betting fans and sports news pundits.

In a bizarre twist of chance Bayern’s undoing this weekend could be delivered by one of their new signings for next season. If Dortmund’s star player Mario Gotze overcomes a late fitness battle he will go up against the team who have just paid over £31m for his services.  If the talented midfielder helps his side to victory it will be interesting see how he celebrates at the final whistle.

This adds another exciting element to what is sure to be a fascinating encounter and one of the most keenly anticipated finals for years. Despite being one of Europe’s largest stadiums Wembley is still not big enough to satisfy the ticket demands of Borussia Dortmund supporters. The club who average over 80,000 for a home match received more than 500,000 ticket requests proving that despite Bayern Munich being German footballs most successful club they appear to be a bit behind Dortmund in terms of fan base.

So will Dortmund fans see their team lift the ultimate European club prize for a second time? Or will it be Bayern fans celebrating a 5th European Cup? It’s almost too close to call but I have a feeling Dortmund will come out on top.

PFA Player of the Year shortlist

Gareth Bale

England’s only representative on this year’s PFA Player of the Year shortlist comes in the surprise shape of Manchester Utd midfielder Michael Carrick. The effective if unspectacular England International is highly unlikely going to win the award but will be delighted to have his efforts recognised.

Let’s have a closer look at all the shortlisted players and who is most likely to lift the award.

Gareth Bale

Spurs late season wobble is no coincidence with Gareth Bale side-lined with injuries in recent weeks. The attacking wingers’ reputation has risen again this season and rumours about a summer move to Barcelona and Real Madrid are already making regular headlines. The only way is up for the Welshman who looks on course to become one of the finest players on the planet. His chances of winning Player of the Year may depend on how Spurs finish the season but he is still the sport betting bookies favourite.

Michael Carrick

Outwith Old Trafford Michael Carrick might not be regarded as highly as the others on the list but the midfielder has been a driving force in another successful season for the red devils who are cruising towards another league title. Carrick is also backed up by stats that show has made an impressive 2,442 passes with a completion rate of 88% so far this season. Carrick won’t win the award but being shortlisted is a great achievement in its own right.

Luis Suarez

Love him or loathe him Luis Suarez continues to improve in the Premier League adding his scoring touch to his tremendous all round game. He is one of few shining lights for Liverpool fans in another disappointing season for the Merseyside club. If they can hold on to this gem and add some quality then Liverpool might head back into the top four next season. The chances of Suarez lifting the PFA award will be harmed by Liverpool’s low finish this season.

Eden Hazard

Diminutive Belgian playmaker Eden Hazard has had a fine first season in English football forming a potentially devastating partnership with Chelsea team mate Juan Mata. At just 22 it is frightening to think how far this boy can go if he continues to perform at this rate. Hazard is more likely to win the Young Player of the Year award.

Juan Mata

Juan Mata is already a regular in the world class Spain squad and is poised to take over the mantle as midfield maestro from the great Iniesta and Xavi. Similar to Eden Hazard, Mata’s best chances of winning the award this season are with the Young Players award.

Robin van Persie

Robin van Persie is my red hot favourite to lift this season’s award for a second year running after another excellent season in front of goal. He has gone through a bit of a dry patch in recent weeks but has already done enough to secure Utd another league title. The Dutchman will secure the PFA award if he can finish the season in the same form he started it.

English players are looked upon more favourably in the Young Player of the Year shortlist with home grown players Danny Welbeck and Jack Wilshire nominated for the award.

photo by: Mafue

Live Football Scores

Romulo Scores

Along with the evolution of football there has also been a mammoth growth in technology. Are both intertwined? Definitely yes .Everyone will remember Frank Lampard’s goal for England against Germany in the 2010 World Cup not being given despite clearly being over Manuel Neuer’s goal line. It has led to widespread call for goal line technology which is in advanced stages to be adopted in major tournaments after a trial run at the Club World Cup in Japan this year. This is all fine as far as the actual game on the park is concerned but football fans also need a way to be connected to the game through modern technology. Every football fan wants to know everything going on with his/her favourite team. But this is a busy world and hence we require live football scores provided on the web by various sources to stay in touch if we are unable to actually attend or watch it live on television.

Live football scores are probably the best way to keep track of your team if you are on the move or for some reason unable to watch matches. Data consumption and slow streaming of games is still a problem for most online fans. The constant update from every single piece of action, from a yellow card to a goal the next second can still be tracked by viewing live scores. They have progressed from just showing game time and scores to showing the goal scorers and every major event in the game. In addition live football bets can be found for most matches with any good bookmaker, and some of them even offer live casino and poker bets now, such as https://casino.bwin.be, for people to bet on in between matches.

Latest in this field is that of live commentary, which brings you even closer to the game. Despite not watching you get live text feed which lets you know all the happenings. Popular websites such as ESPN, GOAL.com , Bleacherreport etc all offer one of the finest service of text commentary covering most games across the globe and particularly Europe.

The only counter argument is that sports might just lose the passion and interest as people would load a webpage, find the score and just not tune into TV or go to stadiums to watch live action .But this argument has fallen flat for many satisfied online fans as the pros of current technology are far greater and far more essential for die hard sports fans. Fans can only watch one sport or game of football at a time but can always stay in touch with their rival’s game. Remember the Premier League final day of 2011-12 season? If you were a Manchester United fan then I am pretty sure the City score would have been close at hand.

photo by: simonw92

Football League Tables

Preston north end

England’s all time table

The debate goes on between sets of fans of the big Premier League clubs that their club is the biggest in the land. Liverpool supporters would be most vociferous in the past, pointing to their trophy cabinet of 18 League winning trophies. Of course they can no longer fall back on this argument now that Manchester Utd has surpassed it and are well on their way to their 20th. But what if we consider a larger time frame? How about way back from when the football league was established? An all-time English Football league table. Who would fare best?

I would first point out the notable exclusions from this top 5 list. Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham are the biggest exclusions coming in at positions 11th, 24th and 37th respectively.

Let’s have a look at the top 5.

5th- Wolverhampton Wanderers

At 5th position come struggling Championship team Wolverhampton Wanderers. They’ve garnered 5325 pts from a total of 4616 games having won 1248 of those matches and lost 524. Wolves have claimed the league title three times in their illustrious history.

4th- Preston North End

At 4th are Football League One club Preston North End. The Lancashire club is rich in history and have not always been associated as minnows of English football having been crowned league champions twice in their existence.

Preston North End top Wolves by just 19 points having played 59 games more in the top flight.

3rd – Arsenal

The top 3 are more familiar names in the top flight with 3rd being taken by the team presently managed by Arsene Wenger, Arsenal Football Club .Arsenal have finished in top 4 for the majority of the Premier league era and they make it in our all time league table as well with 5655 points from 4325 games. In those 4325 games Arsenal have won 1278 games and lost 377.

Arsenal have won the league title 13 times in their history of which 3 are in the premier league era.

TOP 2

The top 2 is pretty much obvious for most English football fans but the question is Who are on top? Liverpool or Manchester Utd ?

As is the case in the Premier League era , it is Manchester United beating Liverpool with 5949 points to 5783 points with United having played 4357 matches and Liverpool playing 31 fewer games.

So are Manchester United the greatest English team of all time? According to our All time English Football league table they definitely are.

All stats are courtesy of www.statto.com

photo by: Bonnett

Online Football games and football quizzes

e3expo

Football is the biggest sport in the world with the biggest sport event the FIFA world cup being held every 4 years. The game gives us chills, fills us with emotion with every miss to every winning goal scored. But most of the action takes place on the pitch right? Think again. Football has grown into our lives and into our homes. We will take a look at 3 of the most popular off the field football related hobbies.

1. Fantasy Football

Fantasy football has garnered a large fan following and this is due to the competitive spirit of this game.

Basically this game begins with a player being allotted a specified amount to purchase a team of players who have fixed prices themselves. With the budget being a constraint, a team is created and fared against many other users across the globe.

The game depends on real life performance of players as goals, assists, clean sheets etc all allows a user to reap points for his team from a player in his fantasy team. The added bonus of being able to win prizes also helps keep up interest in the game.

2. Football Quiz

Who doesn’t like a quiz in a subject they’re actually interested in? A football quiz has always been a good way to spend lots of time arguing with your mates in the pub. The quiz types ranges from identifying players, general knowledge about club establishment and history of a club.

They are now mostly used by television companies or on websites as a preview or build up to an upcoming game so as to make it more interactive and knowledge gaining at the same time.

3. Video Games

What if you could be your favourite player and rule the world of football? Video games offer that and it is by far the closest a normal person can come to experience the beautiful game on a virtual platform.

The famous games are from the FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer franchise. These allow you to manage your favourite team, play with your favourite player and take part in your favourite competition and win it with the team of your liking.

photo by: sunny_J